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28 October 2016, 16:14
A lorry driver caught smuggling 2.6 million cigarettes through Dover in pallets of dry pasta has been jailed for three years.
Border Force officers stopped Andrzej Imanski, 39, as was driving his lorry through the Dover Eastern Docks in April.
Import papers listed his cargo as 32 pallets of boxes of dry pasta. However, officers found around 2.6 million cigarettes hidden alongside boxes of pasta.
The boxes containing the cigarettes were identical to those containing bags of dry pasta.
The estimated excise duty evaded was £645,398.
Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: "Imanski assumed the pasta boxes would hide his illegal cargo of smuggled cigarettes. But they were discovered and he's now in prison.
"This is the second such jail term this week for cigarette smuggling in Kent and shows that we continue to work with other enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK around £2 billion a year in stolen revenue.
"Don't let criminals profit by undermining legitimate retailers. Anyone with information about the smuggling or illegal sale of tobacco can report it by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000."
Imanski was found guilty after a three-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court.