A lorry driver who tried to smuggle 400 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco into the UK has been jailed for 12 months at Maidstone Crown Court
Daniel Pacurar was caught by officers at Dover Ferry Port hiding his illicit haul worth £79,240 in duty, behind bags of aggregate in the lorry trailer.
Trade in illegal tobacco available at ‘pocket money prices’ is the target of a county-wide campaign.
The East Sussex Tobacco Partnership is launching the campaign to highlight the dangers of illegal tobacco and target those involved in its supply.
Illegal tobacco is available in various places in the community including the workplace, private homes, pubs, markets, car boot sales and on the street. The distribution network is unregulated and tobacco is easily accessible to children and young people.
Smuggled and counterfeit tobacco has been found at shops in North Kent in raids led by KCC Trading Standards.
Officers visited six convenience stores in Gravesham, resulting in the seizure of 55,000 illegal cigarettes and some packs of tobacco.
Trading Standards Manager, Richard Strawson, said, "We all recognise that smoking is one of the biggest causes of ill health. The trade in illicit tobacco makes a serious issue worse because the controls on safety standards, which apply to legitimate traders, are not carried out."
In total, more than seven kilos of tobacco and more than 1,000 cigarettes were seized from the two premises and the total duty evaded is estimated at almost £2,200.
Revenue and Customs Officers also seized two boxes of alcoholic drinks from a convenience store.