Doncaster man sentenced for smuggling illegal tobacco

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A man from Doncaster has been sentenced after he was caught taking delivery of almost 850 kilos of illegal tobacco at a storage unit. 

James Brennan, 46, of Grange View, Doncaster, was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs officers after he was caught collecting hand-rolling tobacco worth £153,300 in unpaid duty.

Brennan was sentenced yesterday at Sheffield Crown Court to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months after he admitted excise fraud at Sheffield Crown Court on June 13.

The illegal goods were discovered in the back of a hired van when officers visited the rented storage unit on Gunhills Lane, Doncaster, in September 2014.

The 849.5 kilos of Turner tobacco was seized by HMRC and Brennan was arrested at the scene.

Eden Noblett, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC said: “Brennan aimed to put this illegal tobacco on the UK streets and pocket the profit, which was enough money to pay the salaries for six trainee firefighters for a year. He thought he could get away with it, but he was wrong.

“The black market trade in illegal tobacco harms legitimate traders and is stealing money from taxpayers that is needed for public services we rely on. I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to report it to HMRC online, or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Proceedings are also underway to recover the unpaid duty.