Tobacco smuggling gang from Retford sentenced

The gang were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.
The gang were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.

Four Retford men have been sentenced for dealing in illicit tobacco worth more than £44,000 in duty taxes.

Andrew Bond, 54, and his son Joe Karlson Bond, 22, of Ha’penny Bridge Way, were caught buying 50,000 cigarettes and 50kg hand-rolling tobacco at a car park in Retford in October 2015.

Both were arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers alongside Francis O’Brien, 24, then of Retford, who had the smuggled products in the van he was driving.

Officers also seized £8,740 cash from Bond, and discovered another 240 cigarettes and 1.55kg hand-rolling tobacco inside his car.

Just three months later, O’Brien was caught again after he and Andrew Mason, of Alexandra Road, were seen unloading 125kg of illegal hand-rolling tobacco from a van on George Street in Doncaster.

HMRC intervened and both men were arrested. Investigators seized the tobacco products and £2,500 cash found in Mason’s pockets, which he admitted was for buying the illicit goods.

All four men admitted evasion of excise duty at Nottingham Crown Court on June 1 and were sentenced at the same court on July 13.

· Bond was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

· Mason was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

· Karlson Bond was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

· O’Brien was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Two of the vehicles used to smuggle the contraband and the £11,240 cash seized were confiscated as proceeds of the crime.