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Two sentenced for £2m alcohol smuggling fraud

Press Release   •   May 06, 2014 17:08 BST

Kieran Patrick Hughes, 55, from Portadown, was sentenced to six years and William Canning, 44, from Ballykelly, was sentenced to 27 months in prison. They faked paperwork using details of legitimate companies, claiming to import vinegar, fruit juice, detergent and water into the UK from Europe, to avoid paying nearly £2 million duty on the alcohol.

David Margree, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“Over 18 months these men attempted to flood the UK with illicit alcohol, with the aim of lining their own pockets, at the expense of UK taxpayers. They hijacked details from legitimate hauliers in order to disguise the fact that they were committing fraud. The alcohol was sold on and the profits used to fund further criminality, undercutting legitimate retailers who could not compete with these fraudsters.

“HMRC is committed to protecting public finances from attacks by criminals and will not stand by and let crooks rip off UK taxpayers. Anyone with information about alcohol fraud can contact us on the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Notes for editors
1. Kieran Patrick Hughes, DOB 24/04/58, of Coharra Road, Portadown, was found guilty of 14 counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty, contrary to section 170 (2) (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, and one count on possession of false documentation. He was jailed for six years for each count, to run concurrently, when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court today.

2. William Canning, DOB 09/02/70, of Clooney Road, Ballykelly, Limavady, was found guilty of two counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty, contrary to section 170 (2) (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. He was jailed for 12 months for one count and 15 for the second count, to run consecutively, when he appeared at Maidstone Crown court today.

3. Both men will serve half their sentence in prison and half on licence.

4. The total revenue evaded was £1,807,216.99.

5. Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk.

6. Photographs are available at 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.