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A smuggler who crammed 327 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and 71,600 cigarettes into a people-carrier was jailed for 24 weeks on Tuesday 10 August 2010 following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs.
On 6 August 2010 a Chrysler Grand Voyager, driven by 29-year old Razvan Moldovan, a Romanian national living in Spain, was stopped by UK Border Agency officers as it arrived by ferry at Plymouth from Santander, northern Spain.
Officers discovered the smuggled cigarettes and tobacco completely filling the vehicle’s roof-box, and hidden under blankets, crammed beneath seating and in every space possible in the back of the car.
Moldovan, who had travelled to the port with his wife and two young children, pleaded guilty at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 10 August 2010 to evading around £53,000 in excise duty.
Upon sentencing District Judge Farmer said:
“It is almost impossible to believe all that tobacco could fit in the vehicle. I have no option but to give a custodial sentence.”
Paul Roberts, HMRC Senior Criminal Investigator, said:
“Cigarette smuggling is not a victimless crime, but theft from law abiding UK residents. Our investigators will not hesitate to pursue criminals who try to smuggle tobacco and we ask anyone with information about the illegal smuggling or the sale of tobacco goods to call the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”