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‘Cat food’ tobacco smuggler jailed

Press release   •   Jul 12, 2016 09:41 BST

SE 10.16 Lorry containing smuggled tobacco

A lorry driver caught smuggling one-and-a-half tonnes of tobacco into the UK, evading £297,000 in excise duty, has been jailed after an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.

Iosif Neuschli, 48, of Baia Mare, Romania, was stopped by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks on 8 June 2016. Neuschli told officers the lorry he was driving contained ‘cat food’. In fact the lorry’s trailer unit contained five pallets loaded with 1,500 kilos of ‘Turner’ hand rolling tobacco.

Neuschli pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty at Maidstone Crown Court on 7 July 2016.He was jailed immediately for 18 months.

Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Neuschli thought he could get away with smuggling illegal tobacco into the UK and is now paying the price for his criminal actions.

“Tobacco smuggling robs communities of vital public funds and harms the livelihood of legitimate retailers. We encourage anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal tobacco to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Notes for editors

  1. Iosif NEUSCHLI (DOB 22.10.67), a lorry driver of Aleea Jupiter, Baia Mare, Maramures County, Romania.
  2. He was charged with the fraudulent evasion of excise duty, contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
  3. A photograph is available from HMRC’s Flickr channel
  4. Anyone with information about people suspected of smuggling, selling or storing illegal tobacco should contact our hotline on 0800 59 5000 or report it online at:
  5. Follow HMRC on Twitter @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.