Newcastle man Aran Saied had 40,000 illicit cigarettes in car
A man who had almost 40,000 illicit cigarettes in his car has been given a suspended prison sentence.
The contraband in Aran Mohammed Saied's car was worth £10,100 in duty tax, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.
Saied, 33, of Ellesmere Road, Newcastle, was found guilty of fraudulently evading excise duty.
He was sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for 12 months at Newcastle Crown Court and ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work.
Saied, who is unemployed, had denied the offence but was found guilty at Newcastle Magistrates' Court, was also told to pay £400 in costs and a £140 victim surcharge.
Saied was pulled over by North Yorkshire Police on the A1 near Catterick in September because the car he was driving had no MOT.
Officers found 39,820 illicit cigarettes and £2,775 in cash hidden in boxes, the HMRC said.
Initially Saied told officers the boxes contained car parts he was transporting for a friend in Birmingham.
HMRC said he had previously been warned about duty evasion after attempting to smuggle 4,000 cigarettes and 30 cigars through Edinburgh Airport in April 2015.