Andrzej Imanski jailed for three years for smuggling 2.6 million cigarettes among pasta at Dover Eastern Docks
A lorry driver caught smuggling 2.6 million cigarettes hidden among a consignment of dry pasta has been jailed for three years. Andrzej Imanski , 39, was convicted last Thursday after taking the load into the UK through Dover Eastern Docks. Imanski, stopped in his lorry by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks last April 28.
Import papers suggested the cargo was boxes of dry pasta, packed within 32 pallets.
The pasta boxes that the cigarettes were hidden among.
Officers discovered around 2.6 million cigarettes boxed and hidden alongside boxes of pasta in 30 of the pallets.
The boxes containing the cigarettes were identical to those containing bags of dry pasta.
The estimated excise duty evaded was ?645,398. The case was referred to HMRC for investigation.
The cigarettes smuggled into Dover by Andrzej Imanski. Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Imanski assumed the pasta boxes would hide his illegal cargo of smuggled cigarettes.
But they were discovered and he’s now in prison. “This is the second such jail term this week for cigarette smuggling in Kent and shows that we continue to work with other enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK around ?2 billion a year in stolen revenue. “Don’t let criminals profit by undermining legitimate retailers.”
Imanski’s lorry where cigarettes were found hidden among pasta boxes.
Imanski is from the village of Motylewo in the western Polish district of Gmina Bogdaniec .
He was found guilty at Maidstone Crown Court after a three-day trial. He was found guilty of the fraudulent evasion of excise duty and the cigarettes involved er a non-UK brand called Pect. The pasta company was not subject to HMRC investigation.
Another lorry driver from Poland was caught smuggling 2.6 million fake cigarettes through the docks in boxes of rotten apples last May. Pawel Michal Maroszek, 32, from the town of Sulech?w was jailed for 21 months after, on October 24, pleading guilty at Maidstone Crown Court. Since 2000, HMRC, working with other enforcement agencies, has more than halved the size of the illicit market in cigarettes.
In the last two years alone, more than 3.5 billion illicit cigarettes and over 599 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized resulting in 848 prosecutions.
Anyone with information about the smuggling or illegal sale of tobacco can report it by calling HM Revenue and Customs’ 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.