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Croydon man jailed for £840000 cigarette smuggling fraud

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A man from Broad Green has been jailed after he was caught smuggling more than three million illegal cigarettes. Unemployed Hadayatullah Meahrabi of Lodge Road, in Broad Green, was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday (Thursday, February 23) for his part in a ?840,000 cigarette smuggling fraud. Investigations by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) discovered a warehouse in Sandbach, Cheshire, being used as a hub by international cigarette smugglers.

HMRC officers observed a suspicious delivery at the Millbuck Way site when a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) arrived towing a curtain-sided trailer and reversed up to the unit on the Springvale Industrial Estate in July 2016.
READ MORE: Croydon conman jailed as part of gang which scammed elderly woman out of ?300,000[2] In doing so, HMRC caught 20-year-old Meahrabi with Willem Peele, 56, from Utrecht in Holland, unloading more than three million illegal cigarettes from the HGV.


More cigarettes were discovered hidden behind boxes of ice cream cones and biscuits inside the unit.
READ MORE: ‘I’ve thought about taking my life’ – Croydon tram crash survivor on the daily trauma he endures[3] HMRC seized a total of 3,289,160 illegal cigarettes in the unit and trailer.

This included 190,000 counterfeit Lambert & Butler cigarettes, 1,200,000 Jims Filter King cigarettes which are not sold in the UK, 909,160 and Richman cigarettes, 990,000 Gold Classics cigarettes which are also not sold in the UK. The duty evasion on the cigarettes was ?837,371.59. When discovered, Meahrabi was also caught with a holdall containing ?4,000 in cash.

The money was consequently seized by HMRC officers under proceeds of crime powers and was forfeited.
READ MORE: Teen girl from Croydon charged with possession of offensive weapon after knife video shared online[4] After their arrest at the rented warehouse, Meahrabi (who is also a Dutch national) and Peele were remanded into custody.

In August Meahrabi pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty and Peele pleaded guilty to the same offence in January.

They were sentenced together at Chester Crown Court.on Thursday (February 23) – Meahrabi to two years in jail and Peele to three years in prison.

References

  1. ^ Comments (0) (www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk)
  2. ^ Croydon conman jailed as part of gang which scammed elderly woman out of ?300,000 (www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk)
  3. ^ ‘I’ve thought about taking my life’ – Croydon tram crash survivor on the daily trauma he endures (www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk)
  4. ^ Teen girl from Croydon charged with possession of offensive weapon after knife video shared online (www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk)

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