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  1. ITV Report

Lorry driver tried to smuggle 7 million cigarettes through Dover

The cigarettes were hidden in boxes designed for windows Credit: HMRC

A lorry driver has been jailed after he was caught smuggling more than seven million illegal cigarettes disguised as windows into the UK.

Mariusz Piotr Gorny, 45, of Poland, tried to smuggle cigarettes worth £2,161,475 in unpaid duty through the Port of Dover, an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed.

Gorny was stopped by Border Force officers as he arrived from Dunkirk Ferry Port, France, on 21 February this year. His paperwork said he was transporting windows to an address in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. But when officers searched the lorry trailer, they discovered the cigarettes packed in cardboard boxes labelled as windows. The cigarettes were concealed under boxes containing actual windows.

Gorny was arrested and 7,020,000 Richmond cigarettes were seized. The case was passed to HMRC for investigation.

Paperwork said windows were being transported to Wellingborough Credit: HMRC

This was a shocking attempt to flood the streets with illegal cigarettes and deprive our vital public services of millions of pounds. Gorny thought his smuggling scam would go undetected – but he was wrong and now he is paying the price behind bars.

Trade in illicit tobacco makes cheaper tobacco more readily available to the young and vulnerable and takes trade away from legitimate businesses. The duty evaded on the goods was equivalent to the annual salaries of 88 newly qualified Kent Police officers.

Anyone with information about tobacco fraud should report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

– Tom Hunnisett, HMRC

Gorny admitted excise fraud at Maidstone Crown Court and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.