David Cassells jailed for illegal cigarette imports

image captionCassells pleaded guilty to evading VAT and excise duty on the cigarettes

A Glasgow businessman who was caught with 550,000 illegally imported cigarettes has been jailed for a year.

David Cassells, 52, was found with the tobacco haul during an investigation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) in Glasgow in June 2006.

He later admitted evading excise duty and VAT on the Mayfair cigarettes to the value of £102,718.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that Cassells will also face action under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court heard how the SCDEA carried out surveillance on Cassells, who is from the city's Crookston area, as part of an investigation into the trade of imported cigarettes.

On 16 June 2006, officers saw him loading a van with goods from a unit in Bridgeton. They then followed him to another car parked in another part of Bridgeton.

'Serious offence'

Cassells then placed two large packages in the boot of the car and drove off before being stopped and detained by police.

The court was told that 100,000 Mayfair Kingsize cigarettes were found in the back of the van, 20,000 were found in the car and 430,000 were discovered at the lock-up unit.

Subsequent investigations revealed the cigarettes were made for the Polish domestic market and there was no paperwork to show how they had come into Scotland.

Sentencing Cassells, Sheriff Martin Jones told him: "You cannot escape the fact that you have pled guilty to an extremely serious offence and I consider that a custodial sentence is necessary."