Taxes

44 Months in Prison for Smuggling Cigarettes

Three British brothers had a haul of nearly one million tax-free cigarettes

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Three brothers caught with a haul of nearly a million black market cigarettes were jailed for a total of 44 months on Monday.

Market traders Cliff and Roy Collins – and their brother Francis – all from Danbury Street, Islington, bought the foreign and counterfeit tobacco to sell on to unsuspecting punters in London pubs.

They were put under surveillance after customs officials noticed them making regular trips to the family lock-up in Borough. They were caught red-handed last October and a search later revealed an inventory running to 887,000 cigarettes.

These included packets of Benson and Hedges illegally imported from the Middle East and counterfeit cigarettes in cartons bearing the Spanish Palace brand.

None of the £176,440 duty due to HM Revenue and Customs had been paid, the Old Bailey heard.