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Cigarette smuggler jailed

01 November, 2013

A man from Bridgend in South Wales, who smuggled 485,000 cigarettes and hundreds of counterfeit watches into the UK, has been jailed. The duty loss on the cigarettes is estimated at £125,000.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers seized the cigarettes and watches from a Bridgend storage unit in January this year. Cash was also found in a vehicle owned by Ian Ronald Freeman, 50, of Pencoed. Trading standards officers dealt with the watches.

Freeman was arrested and later admitted smuggling offences. He was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court to eight months in prison on October 31.

Colin Spinks, assistant director, HMRC, said: “Ian Freeman thought that supplying a large quantity of unregulated cigarettes would net him a decent profit. The fact that these cigarettes are not legally available in the UK was of no consequence to him.

“HMRC is investing more resources than ever in our efforts to track down smugglers and tax cheats.”