A man from Co Armagh has been sentenced after he was caught twice in possession of illegal cigarettes and tobacco worth alsmot £60,000 in evaded duty and VAT.
Maurice Wilson, 56, was arrested by officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after they searched a commercial storage unit in Belfast in January 2011.
HMRC seized 183,000 illicit cigarettes and nearly 10kg of hand rolling tobacco during the operation. Wilson was arrested again by HMRC in February 2011, after the discovery of over 50,000 illicit cigarettes in a car he was driving.
Wilson, of Edenvale, was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to 15 months suspended for three years when he appeared at Laganside Court.
John Whiting, HMRC Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, said: “Tobacco smuggling is organised crime on a global scale. It encourages and supports criminality within our communities, robbing taxpayers of millions each year in unpaid duty and VAT. Anyone with information about the storage or sale of illegal tobacco in their area should contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”