A PURFLEET MAn has been jailed for sixteen months after attempting to smuggle tobacco from Spain to the UK.
A WOMAN who helped the carpenter smuggle 161kg of tobacco into the UK using a modified camper van escaped jail.
Lithuanian Raimundas Duoba, 39, from Purfleet was jailed for 16 months after UK Border Agency officers searched his camper van in June last year reports the North London today.co.uk
He had used his carpentry skills to conceal the tobacco in a false ceiling, under a false floor in the boot, in the base of the bed, beneath a water tank and even behind the panel of a working fuse box. It meant the pair could avoid paying about £39,000 in tax.
Giedre Giliene, 34, of Rylston Road, Palmers Green, provided cover for Lithuanian Raimundas Duoba, 39, as they tried to pass from Bilbao, in Spain, to Portsmouth with enough tobacco to make 300,000 cigarettes hidden inside the van.
Giliene provided cover, telling officials that she was on holiday. She pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of duty and was given an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for one year, as well as a 12-month supervision order.
Duoba was charged with evading £17,000 in tax, in addition to smuggling the tobacco into Portsmouth. He pleaded guilty to both charges.
Sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court last month, Judge Richard Price told Giliene: “You provided cover, making out that you were on holiday, when you knew perfectly well that the vehicle had contraband within.”
He added: “These were both sophisticated operations and Duoba had skillfully and deliberately planned and delivered both operations.”
The tobacco and cigarettes were all forfeited and burned to fuel the National Grid.