A Lithuanian truck driver who smuggled more than 1-tonne of tobacco into the UK has been jailed for 21 months.
Aurelijus Repecka was arrested by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks in September after five pallets of tobacco on which duty had not been paid were found alongside 27 legitimate pallets of books.
Import documents had been overwritten to include the five extra pallets, which represented an evasion in excise duty of nearly £250,000.
Tim Clarke, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Repecka hoped his crime would be undetected by adding five pallets of tobacco packaged in a similar way to the legitimate load of books. But his smuggling attempt was discovered and he’s now paying the price with a jail term.
“HMRC continues to work with other enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK approximately £2.4bn a year.”
Repecka pleaded guilty to evading excise duty at Maidstone Crown Court in October and started his 21-month sentence immediately.
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