Skip to main content

Tobacco tax evaders caught out

Press Release   •   Jul 26, 2013 13:37 BST

Two men, caught moving 245 kilos of smuggled tobacco between two vans, have been jailed today after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  

Graham Kay, 38, from Bolton and Soran Salih, 24, from Bury were parked at the side of a road when HMRC officers intervened.

The officers seized the tobacco and both men were arrested for tax evasion. More illegal tobacco and cash were seized at their homes and business premises during the investigation. Both men pleaded guilty on 24 June 2013 to attempting to evade over £94,000 in excise duty and VAT.

Mike O’Grady, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:

“We are determined to tackle the ongoing problem of illicit tobacco sales across Greater Manchester. My message is clear to anyone engaged in this illegal activity - HMRC will pursue those who ignore the rules on the sale, storage and supply of illicit tobacco.

“The evasion of excise duty is a criminal offence. If you are caught you will not only have your goods seized but you may also face prosecution. Anyone with information about the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes and tobacco in the Manchester area should contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

The cigarettes were recycled as fuel for the National Grid, the cash seized has been forfeited to the Crown and Salih’s van was confiscated.

Notes for Editors

1.  Details of the defendants sentenced today at Bolton Crown Court:

-  Graham Kay, DOB 21/04/75, a self-employed bedroom fitter of Worcester Street, Halliwell, Bolton; and

-  Soran Salih, DOB 27/07/88, unemployed of Broadoak Lane, Bury, Greater Manchester.

2.  Both pleaded guilty on the first day of their trial at Bolton Crown Court on 24 June 2013 to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty contrary to section 170(2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

-  Kay was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment. A search of Kay’s home address indentified that he controlled a business unit at Halliwell Business Park in Bolton. A search of this unit revealed 20 master cases (200,000) of non-duty paid ‘Superkings’ brand cigarettes.

-  Salih was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment. At Salih’s house HMRC officers discovered £3,300 in cash hidden in a bedside wardrobe and a large box containing a further 11.8kg of Tennessee non-duty paid hand rolling tobacco (HRT) in a downstairs room.

-  Total evaded duty on the tobacco seized is calculated to be £94,000.

3.  HMRC is calling on local people to work with it in the fight against crime and encourages anyone aware of illicit cigarette or tobacco storage or sales to contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

4.  Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk

5.  Photographs are available from the press officers below or on HMRC’s Flickr channel


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.