Friday, July 19, 2024

Lithuanian driver caught in Purfleet with stash of 170,000 fags in fuel tanks

THE driver of a transporter lorry who stashed 170,000 cigarettes in its fuel tanks to try and smuggle them into the UK, has been sentenced.

Darious Lukosius (44) arrived in Purfleet from Boulogne, France in July 2012. During a search of the lorry at border controls, drill bits, rivets and a drill gun were discovered in the cab. Suspicions were raised when officers found a large number of receipts for small amounts of diesel, even though the fuel tanks had the capacity to hold around 1,000 litres. An examination of the tanks found that they had been adapted to allow space for the cigarettes, worth an estimated £31,000 in evaded duty and VAT, to be hidden inside.

Bob Gaiger from HM Revenue & Customs said:

“This seizure shows the lengths that smugglers will go to in an attempt to conceal their illegal tobacco products. Smuggled cigarettes are un-regulated and are a major threat to the health and well-being of communities across the country. Smugglers are criminals who are only out to make a profit and do not care about the harm that they cause to legitimate retailers.

“We are keen to work closely with local residents and communities in the fight against this type of crime and would encourage anyone who knows of someone selling cheap or duty free cigarettes and tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.”

Lukosius was charged with the fraudulent evasion of excise duty and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing in October. He was sentenced yesterday (12 November 2012) at Basildon Crown court to a four month jail sentence suspended for 12 months. In addition he will have to complete 60 hours of community service and wear an electronic tag for 40 days.

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