Driver jailed for smuggling four million cigarettes

The driver of a Ripley-bound lorry carrying more than four million smuggled cigarettes has been jailed for three and a half years.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how Alexander Kindred, 55, of Glennturret Terrace, Perth, Scotland, was intercepted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers at the Inward Freight controls at Dover Docks on April 26, 2007.

He was driving a British registered vehicle and said the trailer had been loaded in Germany with boxes of biscuits which were to be delivered to Ripley.

Customs officers examined the vehicle and its load. Hidden within the pallets of brown boxes containing the biscuits they found a number of white unmarked boxes containing 4,229,200 cigarettes.

The revenue evaded on the tobacco was 580,000, the court heard.

Jennie Kendall HMRC spokesperson for HMRC said: "This sentence will serve as a deterrent to others.

"Selling smuggled tobacco products is not a harmless tax fiddle – it cheats the Government of Revenue, which can be used to fund vital public services, and jeopardises the trading of law-abiding tobacconists.

"I would urge anyone with knowledge of others importing or dealing in smuggled cigarettes to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000."