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18 September 2013, 06:47
A man from Estonia has been jailed for four weeks, after he was caught smuggling in 22,800 Russian cigarettes in suitcases through Stansted.
Artur Leonov was stopped at London Stansted Airport, by a UK Border Force Officer, after arriving from Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
A search of two suitcases, carried by Leonov, revealed 22,800 Russian marked cigarettes.
During questioning Leonov admitted that this was his second time carrying suitcases into the UK for a Russian speaking man and woman, but he didn't know who they were.
Leonov claimed he had no knowledge of what was in the suitcases, but had been told there was nothing illegal.
He was paid 50 Euros to bring the suitcases into the UK.
In court Leonov was told what he had done was a dangerous thing to do, and if the suitcases had contained drugs he would have been facing a longer prison sentence.
Bob Gaiger, Essex spokesperson for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said:"People who carry luggage on commercial aircraft, with no knowledge of its contents, are risking their freedom or possibly even their own life and that of other innocent travellers.
HMRC works closely with the Border Force to stop those who seek to undermine legitimate retailers with their illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes.
Anyone with information about illicit tobacco sales or smuggling should contact the Customs? Hotline on 0800 59 5000."