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29 March 2015, 09:25
A former worker at Gatwick has escaped jail after admitting illegally buying duty-free cigarettes in airports and selling them on the black market.
Jayne White, 54, along with her daughter Lucy, 20, and a GP from Kent, cheated the taxman out of £28,000 in duty and VAT.
The trio bought duty-free cigarettes in airport departure lounge shops using counterfeit boarding cards.
Mother and daughter were stopped by Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport in April 2013, whilst waiting to board a domestic flight to Edinburgh. The pair were then arrested and questioned by HMRC officers after they found 3,000 duty-free cigarettes, which can only be purchased if travelling outside the European Union, in their possession.
Jayne White, a former airport worker, claimed the pair were due to travel to Oslo later that day and presented counterfeit boarding cards in an attempt to justify buying the cigarettes.
Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: "Duty-free cigarettes are restricted for purchase in the UK for those travelling outside of the EU. This gang were trying to fool airport workers by presenting fake boarding cards which would have shown they were travelling outside of the EU."
During a search of the Whites' home and Jayne White's car, HMRC officers found more counterfeit boarding passes and evidence showing that there had been multiple, illegal purchases of duty-free cigarettes between February 2011 and April 2013.
The investigation also uncovered that Dr. Allan Pollock, 49, was a key player in the scam. He helped Jayne White to make travel arrangements and produce counterfeit boarding passes for flights to non-EU destinations including Geneva, Zurich, Tenerife and Lanzarote from his home computer.
Sentencing Pollock, the judge, His Honour Judge Scott-Gall said: "It baffles me that as a respected GP you became involved in this squalid criminality. With a good salary and considerable wealth, you had to go grubbing around making dirty money buying duty free cigarettes and flogging them off. What a terrible fall from grace."
Pollock and Jayne White were sentenced to two years in jail suspended for two years. Lucy White was sentenced to do 250 hours unpaid work.