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Cigarette smuggler jailed

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By Amy Duffy
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Cigarette smuggler jailed

A CONSTRUCTION worker has been jailed after £95,000 worth of illicit cigarettes were found inside a van travelling on the M74.

Thomas Donnelly, 39, from Kilmarnock, was caught on the motorway near Wamphray on the morning of February 28, 2019.

Upon searching his hire van, police found several boxes containing thousands of cigarettes which prompted them to call HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

An examination followed and there was found to be more than 324,000 illegal cigarettes overall.

Commenting on Donnelly’s sentencing, HMRC’s operational lead of the fraud investigation service Lynsey Thompson yesterday said: “The sale of illegal cigarettes will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.

“This is theft from the taxpayer which undercuts local businesses and now Donnelly is paying the price.”

Donnelly pleaded guilty to Excise Duty fraud on November 23 2021 at Dumfries Sheriff Court and was sentenced to 12 months in prison on January 31 2022.

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