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Lorry Driver Fined £3 Million For Trying To Smuggle Cigarettes Into UK

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Lorry Driver Fined £3 Million For Trying To Smuggle Cigarettes Into UK

A lorry driver has been slapped with a £3 million fine after they were caught trying to smuggle more than eight tons of illegal cigarettes into the UK.

Customs officials in the French port of Calais seized the contraband goods as they were set to make their way out of the country via the Channel Tunnel on 12 March.

The cigs were being transported in an Irish-registered lorry, with the driver hoping to evade detection from the authorities.

The driver's identity has not been disclosed, however, he has since appeared before a judge Boulogne-sur-Mer, where he was handed a three-month suspended sentence and a fine of over €3.4m (£2.9m) for trying to get the fags into the UK.

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The driver was arrested trying to smuggle cigarettes into the UK. Credit: Newsflash
The driver was arrested trying to smuggle cigarettes into the UK. Credit: Newsflash

Last year, British border officers at Dover seized more than 3.2 million illegal cigarettes worth almost £940,000 in unpaid duty.

Two lorries were stopped on 14 November after having arrived on a ferry from Calais.

After being scanned by the authorities, one was found to be carrying a legitimate load of four large electronic circuit breaker machines, while the other contained 3,240,000 cigarettes, which were stored in 18 large boxes.

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Had they not been found, the cigs would have cost the Treasury £937,728 in unpaid duty and VAT.

But smuggling is nothing new, though. Criminals go to extraordinary lengths to get all manner of illegal gear in and out of countries.

Two would-be drug smugglers came a cropper recently, however, when they got nabbed after their jet ski ran out of fuel while crossing the North Sea.

Steven Brogan and Anthony Reilly, from Lancashire, were jailed after attempting to transport cocaine from the Netherlands to Suffolk when they needed rescuing on 30 September 2020.

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Two men were recently caught smuggling cocaine into the UK on a jet ski. Credit: PA
Two men were recently caught smuggling cocaine into the UK on a jet ski. Credit: PA

The pair broken down at around 7pm that night and attempted to get some help from another vessel, asking if they had any fuel to spare.

The boat's crew then sent out a mayday signal and the HM Coastguard as well as volunteers from Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat 'Patsy Knight' attended the scene.

Brogan, 36, and Reilly, 34, were later airlifted to safety by the HM Coastguard helicopter and transported to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

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Following the incident, police then seized two packages of class A drugs with a potential street level value of between £160,000 - £200,000 from the men.

They were charged with importing class A drugs, pleading guilty during a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on 16 February.

Brogan was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison, while Reilly was handed a seven-year sentence.

Featured Image Credit: Newsflash

Topics: Judge, crime, Drugs, France, court

Dominic Smithers
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