Fake cigarettes crime ring uncovered in raids

A SOUTH Normanton man has been given a ten-month suspended jail term for being part of a gang which tried to set up a massive fake cigarette empire.

Peter Bent, 44, of George, Street, was part of a ten-man operation which investigators say was the biggest of its kind ever uncovered in the East Midlands.

Had they been successful, the gang would have made millions of pounds and flooded the country with up to 625 million fake cigarettes and five million pouches of rolling tobacco a year.

Last week, Nottingham Crown Court was told how Bent partnered the gang’s ring leader Phillip Robinson, of Southfields Close, Kirkby.

Robinson, 46, was sentenced to seven years and four months in jail after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) busted the illegal cigarette factory in Chesterfield before it could start production.

The operation was uncovered after officials put the gang under surveillance after seizing millions of cigarettes in raids in 2009.