Former Cumbrian train driver jailed for cigarette fraud

A former Cumbrian train driver who ran a £200,000 cigarette fraud from his home in Thailand has been jailed for nearly four years.

Peter Farquhar, 53, formerly of Briscoe Crescent, Whitehaven, was found guilty of four charges following a three-week trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

The court heard it involved him sending drugs and tobacco home to friends who would pay profits into an account.

It also heard he was claiming disability benefits.

He was found guilty of a £14,000 benefits fraud, money laundering, conspiring to avoid import tax on cigarettes and conspiring to import prohibited steroids between July 2008 and January 2010.

'Gambling winnings'

He was jailed for three years and nine months.

Farquhar had claimed all the money paid into his account was legitimate.

He claimed he was a successful gambler and the money was winnings from bets his friends had placed on his behalf, because gambling was illegal in Thailand.

Five other people were also sentenced for their involvement.

Paul Short, 40, of The Willows, Egremont, pleaded guilty to money laundering, and Philip Burney, 48, of Clintz Road, Egremont, admitted money laundering and conspiring to import body-building drugs.

Both were given nine-month prison sentences, suspended for two years, and 250 hours unpaid community work.

Anthony Norman, 43, of The Larches, Egremont, admitted money laundering and conspiring to import cigarettes.

He was also given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was put under a curfew for 16 weeks.

Jenny Dalton, 44, of The Larches, Egremont, and Yvonne Burney, 37, of Clintz Road, Egremont, both admitted money laundering.

They were each ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

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