As the row about cash in hand payments rumbles on, HMRC has deployed a fleet of drones to keep an eye on the nation’s handymen.
“We’d heard rumours that someone in Plymouth paid cash for their cooker to be fixed, and that was the final straw”, said a spokesman for the tax office.
“So from now on we’ll be tracking plumbers, electricians, small builders, people like that through the use of drone technology.”
“And if this doesn’t work we’ll consider electronically tagging them.”
According to research, ‘cash in hand’ is most commonly used by nice members of the middle classes who feel intimidated by workmen and want to seem cool.
“I was giving Elizabeta, my Romanian cleaner, a ten pound note the other day when I saw a hovering shape outside the kitchen window”, said Nicola Prentiss of Whitstable.
“When I looked it was a drone pointing a camera, a big ear Mike and a couple of Hellfire missiles at me.”
“I was mortified. I’d been doing the chummy ‘common person’ accent I use for talking to manual labourers, and GCHQ now have it on tape.”
HMRC have insisted that discretion will be used, and a human operator will always be involved in decisions to ‘take out’ small-time tax avoiders.
“If you come home to a smoking crater where the guy laying your drive used to be, you can be confident he was either a member of ISIS or planning to offer you twenty quid off for cash”, they said.
“And I know which we think is worse.”