The owner of a Bradford cafe who attempted to smuggle more than three tonnes of fruit-flavored tobacco, known as shisha tobacco, into the UK to avoid paying more than £250,000 in duty has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Nicholas McCann, who owns Pasha Café, a shisha lounge in Bradford, attempted to hide his illegal activities by describing the fruit tobacco as soap.
Jo Tyler, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said
“McCann tried to smuggle this large amount of shisha tobacco into the UK by wrongly describing it in documents, to avoid paying the duty. This is criminal activity. Fruit-flavoured tobacco products are subject to the same rules as mainstream tobacco products and are not exempt from the regulations and tax.
“I would urge local residents and businesses to help us combat this sort of criminal activity by contacting the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 with information relating to illegally imported goods or tax evasion and fraud.”
The tobacco was described as 100 packets of soap and when it was tested, instead of soap, the contents were found to be a water tobacco pipe mixture that contained nicotine.
On 7 November 2011, McCann was arrested at Weetwood Police Station in Leeds and later charged with two counts of duty evasion. He pleaded guilty to the charges on 4 August 2013.
Notes for Editors
- Nicholas Michael McCann, 21/05/1989 of Manor View, Pudsey, West Yorkshire was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for five years at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday 17 December 2013.
- The 3 tonnes of shisha tobacco had duty evaded estimated at £254,950.
3. If a product contains tobacco and is smoked or chewed, it is liable to UK excise duty. This includes products such as hubbly bubbly tobacco, also known as shisha.
- Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk
3. HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.