England

Ex-Cleveland Police officers jailed for smuggling cigarettes

Gary Thompson; Anthony Lamb; David Lister
Image caption The gang was responsible for smuggling sixty million cigarettes into the UK

Two former police officers and a driver have been jailed for smuggling sixty million cigarettes into the UK.

Gary Thompson, 43, and Anthony Lamb, 50, and driver David Lister, 49, faked paperwork to illegally ship cigarettes from the Middle and Far East.

Thompson was jailed for six years after admitting conspiring to evade tax duty, while Lister was jailed for two years after admitting the same offence.

Lamb denied the charge, but was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was jailed for five years.

Lamb, of Ashbourne Drive, Coxhoe, County Durham, and ringleader Thompson, of Castle Eden, near Hartlepool, both left Cleveland Police in 2006.

The court heard the gang imported shipping containers of illegal cigarettes from as far away as Singapore.

Seven containers containing sixty million cigarettes were seized by HM Revenue and Customs officers when the scam was uncovered at Felixstowe port in Suffolk.

It is estimated the gang evaded tax and VAT duty of about £11m on the shipments.

They rented business addresses around England, using false identities but the names of existing legitimate companies.

Lister, of Lakenside Caravan Park, Downham Market, Norfolk, would pick up the hauls when they arrived at Felixstowe.

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