Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Cage fighter admits tax evasion

A cage fighting champion from County Durham has admitted charges of tax evasion and tax credit fraud.

Ian Freeman, who is professionally known as "the Machine", is believed to have stopped paying tax in 1997 when he left his job as a security guard.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court, the 42-year-old from Stanley, pleaded guilty to tax evasion of over 21,000.

He and his wife Angela, 34, also jointly admitted tax credit fraud more than 13,000.

The pair will be sentenced on 3 March.

Freeman ran his own fight promotions firm and made television appearances but failed to declare his earnings of around 30,000 a year, the hearing heard.

The couple also bought a new 18,000 car and a 27,000 boat before they were caught.

HM Revenue & Customs North East head of investigation, Peter Hollier, said: "Mr Freeman's blatant disregard for the tax system is beyond belief."

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