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Four jailed for counterfeit tobacco fraud

Press release -

Four jailed for counterfeit tobacco fraud

Four men behind a Grimsby tobacco counterfeiting fraud, worth around £95,500 in evaded duty, have been jailed for a total of six years after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Eric Cuerton, 57, from Grimbsy, John Stewart, 51, from Birkenhead, and Ronald Johnson, 53, from Dartford, were arrested in May 2013 after HMRC officers seized 553 kilograms of hand- rolling tobacco (HRT) from a car trailer in Holton Le Clay, near Grimsby.

Follow up searches of Cuerton’s home revealed a tobacco processing plant set up in his kitchen. As the investigation continued a fourth man, GiuseppeAvanzi, 35, from London, was arrested in August 2013 as he arrived off a flight from Italy.

The men pleaded guilty when they appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on 13 October 2014 and were sentenced at the same court on Monday 30 March 2015.

Anyone with information about smuggled or counterfeit tobacco products should contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Notes for editors

1. Eric Cuerton, DOB 12/06/57, from Hainton Avenue, Grimbsy, pleaded guilty to the evasion of excise duty as well as the possession of articles for use in fraud when he appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on 13 October 2014. He was sentenced to three years in prison at the same court on Monday (30 March) for the evasion of excise duty and a further 15 months for the fraud offence, to run concurrently.

2. John Stewart, DOB 2101/64, from Alwen Street, Birkenhead, pleaded guilty to the evasion of excise duty when he appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on 13 October 2014. He was sentenced to one year in prison at the same court on Monday (30 March).

3. Ronald Johnson, DOB 22//02/62, from High Road, Wilmington, Dartford, pleaded guilty to the evasion of excise duty when he appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on 13 October 2014. He was sentenced to one year in prison at the same court on Monday (30 March).

4. Giuseppe Avanzi, DOB 24/03/80, from Bath Street, London, EC1V, pleaded guilty to the evasion of excise duty when he appeared at appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on 13 October 2014. He was sentenced to one year in prison at the same court on Monday (30 March).

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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.

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Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex & Hertfordshire 03000 518 552

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Regional Press Officer London 03000 529 729

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.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
100 Parliament St
SW1A 2BQ London