Man jailed for importing 4 million cigarettes

A man has been sentenced to two years in prison after illegally importing 4.4 million cigarettes which were destined for West Wales.

Ramji Kanth, an IT company director in Slough, was arrested after freight documents revealed he was involved in importing the cigarettes.

Ramji Kanth was sentenced to two years in prison. Credit: HM Revenue and Customs

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs seized the cigarettes from a storage unit in Aberystwyth in 2012. They had been shipped from Singapore.

According to HM Revenue and Customs the revenue loss is estimated at almost £1m.

Colin Booker, a Criminal Investigator from HMRC, said: "This importation would have flooded west Wales with an unregulated supply of cigarettes."

"They would have proved popular with people looking for a cheap smoke, including underage children – smugglers have no reservations about profiting from the young and vulnerable."

A court in Reading heard how Kanth, 45, had used the legitimate IT business as a cover. The business regularly traded overseas, which gave him the opportunity to arrange the importation of the cigarettes.