Felixstowe: Taxi Driver Smuggler Jailed

A taxi driver who tried to smuggle 3.6 million cigarettes through the port of Felixstowe has been jailed for five years.

Baljinder Singh taxi driver smuggler

He tried to bring the counterfeit cigarettes into the UK concealed behind pallets of loose slate, that would have evaded around £925,000 in excise duty and VAT.
 
Baljinder Singh from Gillingham in Kent was caught transferring cigarettes from a sea container into two vans at an industrial unit in Tilbury, Essex. The Metropolitan Police, who were carrying out a surveillance operation, detained Singh and the cigarettes.
 
Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, HMRC said:
 
“If this illegal operation had not been stopped millions of potentially dangerous counterfeit cigarettes would have reached the UK’s streets. Criminals involved in this type of crime don’t care who they harm; they are only out to make a profit. Their illegal activity undermines honest local retailers and allows unregulated cigarettes to get into the hands of children and young people.
 
“You can report anyone you suspect may be selling illegal tobacco goods by calling our 24 hour Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
 
Baljinder Singh was found guilty on 17 May 2013 after a six week trial. He was jailed for five years yesterday afternoon at Ipswich Crown Court.
 
Upon sentencing, His Honour Judge Holt, said:
 
“This was a sophisticated smuggling operation and you were involved well before the cigarettes arrived in the country.”
 
He also commented that Singh was a “senior figure in the importation…essential to the fraud and responsible for the distribution of the cigarettes”.
 
The counterfeit cigarettes arrived from China into the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, in May 2011. Import documents described the goods as 26 pallets of loose slate, with a delivery address in Ipswich. Investigators found that an innocent company’s details had been used as a cover for the load, but instead of being delivered to Ipswich the pallets were diverted to an industrial unit in Tilbury.
 

Rabbit Think Before Buying An Easter Bunny

A local animal rescue centre who take in abandoned bunnies from across Norfolk and Suffolk are urging people to think before committing to buy one this Easter.

chickens Former Bernard Matthews Owners Under Fire

Private equity firm Rutland Partners has come under fire for rejecting a buyout offer for Bernard Matthews that would have protected the turkey meat producer's pension scheme.

Recently Played Tracks

On Radio: Heart Breakfast with Dave and Heidi

6am - 10am

Email the show

Text 'ANGLIA' to 82122

Heart Breakfast with Dave and Heidi

Stay tuned...

Watch heart TV

  • Now playing: Non-stop hit music

Heart VIP

Local

Autumn Weather

Find your local four day weather report here.

Listening To Radio Win With Heart

Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.

Follow Heart on Twitter