A lorry driver who tried to smuggle more than one million cigarettes into the UK has been jailed for 18 months after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Mario Izakovic, 42, from Germany, was stopped by Border Force officers at Coquelles in France in June this year, before he could cross the Channel to Dover.
Officers searched his lorry and found 1,279,600 Richmond King blue cigarettes hidden amongst a legitimate load of parcels.
The cigarettes were seized and Izakovic was arrested. When questioned, he said he was paid £3,000 to smuggle the cigarettes into the UK.
He pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this month, and was sentenced to 18 months in jail today at the Nightingale Court at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel.
The duty evaded on the cigarettes was £415,092.
An HM Revenue and Customs spokesperson said: “The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by HMRC. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.
“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
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