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Christmas behind bars for tobacco smuggler

Press Release   •   Dec 23, 2015 16:17 GMT

A lorry driver caught trying to smuggle more than three tonnes of illicit hand-rolling tobacco into the UK has been jailed for two years after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Marek Juran, 40, was interviewed by HMRC after officers from Border Force at Dover Eastern Docks uncovered the illicit tobacco, worth an estimated £586,000 in lost duty and taxes. It was shrink-wrapped on pallets and hidden among a genuine consignment of car parts in the rear of his lorry on 30 November 2015.

Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, said:

"Juran went to great lengths to conceal the illicit tobacco among the genuine car parts he was carrying in his lorry. In doing so he was stripping away hundreds of thousands of pounds from vital public services in the UK but now he is paying the price with a prison sentence and Christmas behind bars.

“The smuggling, transport, storage or sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by HMRC. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs UK taxpayers around £2.1 billion a year. We encourage anyone with information about suspicious tobacco or cigarette products to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Juran pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court today and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Notes for editors

1. Marek Juran, DOB 03/07/1975, Pri Ihrisku, 701 Risnovce, 951-21, Slovakia, pleaded guilty to one count of being knowingly involved in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.

2. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

3. A photographs of the defendant is available on request or from HMRC’s Flickr channel

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.