Lorry driver caught smuggling cigarettes jailed

Credit: Kent Police

A lorry driver caught smuggling eight million cigarettes into the UK has been jailed for two and half years.

40 year old Artur Staniszczak tried to evade more than £2 million in excise duty and was arrested in Dover Eastern Docks in July.

The arrest came after a search of the lorry he was driving revealed 7.9 million Richmond Blue branded cigarettes, instead of the 33 pallets of paper goods shown on the import documents.

Credit: Kent Police

Staniszczak pleaded guilty to evading excise duty at Maidstone Crown Court on 15th August 2017.

He was immediately jailed for two and a half years, of which 15 months must be served in custody.

Upon sentencing, His Honour Judge Carey, said: "You acted out of character by doing something criminal. Your role, in my judgement, was clearly a significant role."

Credit: Kent Police

This lorry contained nothing but boxes of smuggled cigarettes. Staniszczak hoped that false import documents would prevent the illegal load being discovered, but he's now paying the price with a prison sentence."

"HMRC continues to work with Border Force and other agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK around £2.4 billion a year and rips-off legitimate businesses. We encourage anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887."

– Tim Clarke, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC