Cigarette smuggler Carl Allen jailed again

Smuggled cigarettes
Image caption The cigarettes were destined for a pub in Middlesbrough, Carl Allen claimed

A Middlesbrough man has been jailed for cigarette smuggling, less than 18 months after he was released from prison for a similar offence.

Carl Allen was stopped by police on the A174 near Acklam, Middlesbrough, in April, while driving a van containing more than 380,000 illegal cigarettes.

The 39-year-old, from Eversham Road in the town, admitted evading excise duty, which would have been worth £86,500.

He was sentenced to eight months by the judge at Teesside Crown Court.

'Dark shadow'

Allen told investigators from HM Revenue and Customs that he was moving the cigarettes to pay off a debt.

He said he had been instructed to meet two men in a lay-by on the A1 who loaded his van with boxes of cigarettes for him to deliver to a pub in Middlesbrough.

In May 2011, he had been sent to prison for nine months for illegally transporting 400,000 "Jin ling" cigarettes.

Jo Tyler, from HM Revenue and Customs, described Allen as a repeat offender, who had "shown little remorse".

She said: "The trade in black market tobacco goods, and the criminality behind it, casts a dark shadow over local communities."

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