A Dinnington man was among a tobacco smuggling gang sentenced after more than 1.6 million cigarettes were discovered at a Sheffield farm.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers caught the four-strong gang red-handed with illegal tobacco products worth £398,823 in unpaid duty at a farm in Woodall on 28 May 2015.
Reece Dunn, 31, of School Street, Dinnington;James Sanders, 47, of Georges Close, Barnsley; Nigel Reeves, 51, of Grove Lane, Hemsworth; Tadas Taujenis, 33, of Abbeyfield Road, Pitsmoor; were all found at the scene.
HMRC seized 1,608,378 illegal cigarettes, 11.5 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and £6,000 cash, from a hire van parked in the farmyard and a number of surrounding buildings. More than 759,000 of the seized cigarettes were found to be counterfeit.
Eden Noblett, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This was a deliberate attempt to put illegal tobacco goods on the streets of the UK and these men were wrong to think they could get away with it. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.
“Trade in illegal tobacco costs the UK around £1.8 billion a year, money which should be used to fund our vital public services. We encourage anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal tobacco to report it to HMRC online, or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Sanders admitted excise fraud at Leeds Crown Court on 31 May 2019.
Reeves, Taujenis and Dunn were found guilty of excise fraud on 4 July 2019 after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Dunn was sentenced to three years and three months in jail;b Sanders was sentenced to four years and six months; Reeves was sentenced to three years and three months and Taujenis was sentenced to nine months in jail, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to serve 200 hours of unpaid community work.