Devon

Jail term for Plymouth ferry port tobacco smuggler

Cigarettes and tobacco seized at Plymouth ferry port
Image caption The seized cigarettes and tobacco will be burned at a power station to fuel the national grid

A smuggler who crammed 71,600 cigarettes and 327kg of tobacco into a people-carrier was caught when his ferry arrived in the UK, a court heard.

Razvan Moldovan, 29, a Romanian living in Spain, was stopped at Plymouth 6 August.

The smuggled goods filled almost "every space" of his Chrysler Grand Voyager, Plymouth Magistrates' Court was told.

Moldovan pleaded guilty to evading £53,000 in excise duty and was jailed for 24 weeks.

The smuggled cigarettes and tobacco completely filled the vehicle's roof-box.

More were found hidden under blankets, crammed beneath seating and in every space possible in the back of the car, magistrates heard.

District Judge Paul Farmer said: "It is almost impossible to believe all that tobacco could fit in the vehicle."

Paul Roberts, a senior criminal investigator for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: "Cigarette smuggling is not a victimless crime, but theft from law abiding UK residents."

HMRC said the smuggled cigarettes and tobacco would be burned at a power station to fuel the national grid.

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