A WARRANT for the arrest of a Keighley man who allegedly obtained more than £600,000 illegally under the Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been issued after he failed to turn up to court.

On Wednesday morning, Mohammed Ikram, 35, of Springfield Court, was up for cheating the public revenue of £189,208 and 19 counts of fraud, amounting to a total of £434,083, by false representation through the scheme.

Ghazala Ikram, 36, of the same address, also did not appear at Bradford And Keighley Magistrates Court for her criminal property charge of £189,208. A warrant has been issued for her arrest too.

Both individuals had seen their cases, which were brought forward by the Mersey Cheshire Fraud Unit, adjourned from February 22, 2022.

It is alleged that Mr Ikram committed fraud in Keighley by dishonestly making a false representation to obtain thousands of pounds from the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) under the Eat Out To Help Out scheme on 19 occasions. This is contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

August 7, 16, 21, 27, 30, 31 and September 1, 3 and 6 of 2020 are the nine dates when the claims are said to have been made.

Each of the 19 claims were for different amounts. These ranged from £11,405 to £41,650.

Mr Ikram is also alleged to have cheated the public revenue in Keighley between August 7 and September 6 of 2020 for the sum of £189,208 by submitting false online Eat Out To Help Out claims to HMRC.

Between August 13 and September 7 of 2020, Mrs Ikram allegedly acquired, used, or had possession of the £189,208 in Keighley whilst knowing or suspecting it represented in whole or in part the proceeds of fraud.

This is contrary to sections 329 (1) and 334 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Eat Out To Help Out was a Government scheme, created by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on July 8 2020, which was put in place to counter the economic impact of the pandemic on cafes, pubs and restaurants.

The Government subsided food and non-alcoholic drinks at 50 per cent to £10 per person, per order from Monday to Wednesday between August 3 and 31.

There were no limits on how many times an individual could use the discount.

The scheme's success has been debated as it was found to have led to a rise in Covid-19 infections.