Doncaster man punished for dealing in illicit tobacco

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A Doncaster man has been punished for his part in an underworld operation dealing in illicit tobacco worth more than £44, 000 in duty taxes.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Andrew Mason was spotted by customs officers unloading 125kg of illegal hand-rolling tobacco from a van with another man on George Street in Doncaster in January 2016.

He was arrested and officers found £2, 500 cash in his pockets, which he admitted was for buying the illicit goods.

The court heard earlier how Andrew Bond, aged 54, and his son Joe Karlson Bond, aged 22, of Ha’penny Bridge Way in Hull, were caught buying 50, 000 cigarettes and 50kg hand-rolling tobacco at a car park in Retford, Nottinghamshire, in October 2015.

Both were arrested by HM Revenue and Customs officers alongside Francis O’Brien, aged 24, of no fixed abode, who had the smuggled products in the van he was driving.

Officers also seized £8, 740 cash from Bond, and discovered another 240 cigarettes and 1.55kg hand-rolling tobacco inside his car.

Three months after this O'Brien was spotted unloading the cigarettes in Doncaster with Mason.

Mason, aged 51, of Alexandra Road, Doncaster, was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, given 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Bond Snr was handed the same punishment.

Bond Jnr and O'Brien were both sentenced to 200 hours unpaid community work and ordered to pay £500 costs.

All four admitted evasion of excise duty.

After the hearing, an HMRC spokesperson said: "This was a shameless attempt to put illicit tobacco on our streets and undercut legitimate and hardworking businesses. They were wrong to think they could get away with it.

“We encourage anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal tobacco to contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.”