Prison sentences for HGV drivers who smuggled cigarettes and tobacco
Two HGV drivers have been sentenced to a total of four years in prison after they smuggled cigarettes and tobacco into the UK on separate occasions.
Polish driver Arkadiusz Zuk was arrested after he was found to have smuggled 1.6m counterfeit cigarettes through Dover Eastern Docks in a cargo of light fittings and roofing membrane in November 2013.
In November 2015, Zuk pleaded not guilty to evading £359,000 in excise duty, but was found guilty on 26 June 2017 following a four-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
On a separate occasion, Lithuanian truck driver Gintaras Vaitulevicius was caught smuggling 1.1 tonnes of tobacco through Dover on 15 May 2017. The tobacco, worth £245,000 in evaded excise duty, was hidden within a load of kitchen cabinets.
Vaitulevicius pleaded guilty in a separate hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on 21 June. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
Tim Clarke, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “These criminals thought they would get away with smuggling cigarettes and tobacco, but they were wrong and are paying the price for their greed.”