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Rossendale father and son jailed for tobacco smuggling

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Rossendale father and son jailed for tobacco smuggling

A Lancashire father and son, who attempted to steal £229,000 in tax by smuggling illegal cigarettes and tobacco into the UK, were jailed yesterday at Manchester Crown Court.

Peter Robinson, 69, and Adam Robinson, 28, both of Rossendale; were sentenced alongside accomplice Christopher Quint, 59, of Heywood, Rochdale, following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which linked the three men to 109 postal imports of illegal cigarettes and tobacco.

The investigation found that the three men had been involved in a major smuggling racket sending illicit tobacco goods by parcel post from Spain, Poland, Luxemburg, Germany and Belgium to addresses in the north of England, to try and evade UK taxes.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“We are determined to tackle the illicit tobacco trade in the North West region. These men posted large quantities of tobacco and cigarettes in their attempt to evade UK duty and taxes. As a result of our investigation, we have disrupted a criminal networkthat was evading tax and pocketing public funds. They now face confiscation of their criminal proceeds.

“My message is clear to anyone engaged in this illegal activity. The evasion of excise duty is a criminal offence that cheats public services of vital funds. Anyone with information about the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes and tobacco should contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

The Robinsons were caught at UK Customs controls in Coquelles, France, in 2011. Paperwork for 26 parcels was discovered hidden in the roof lining of their car. When the parcels of tobacco and cigarettes were intercepted in the UK post, fingerprint evidence linked them all to the Robinsons. The HMRC investigation found over 109 parcels had been sent by the gang between 2009 and 2011. The men used an alias on some parcels that had been addressed to Quint’s home.

Before their trial could begin, the Robinsons left the UK for Spain. Warrants were issued for their arrest and they were extradited back to the UK in 2014 to face charges, alongside Quint, of conspiracy to smuggle and the illegal importation of tobacco products, on which UK duty hadn’t been paid.

Yesterday, at Manchester Crown Court, Peter and Adam Robinson were jailed for 30 months each and Quint was sentenced to 16 weeks jail, suspended for two years with a 200-hours community work order.

Notes to Editors

1.Details of the gang sentenced on 16 June 2015 at Manchester Crown Court:

  • Peter Robinson, DOB 06/05/46, of Saunders Close, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale, Lancashire, was sentenced to 30 months in jail on 16 June 2015. He was stopped on 14 October 2011 with his son at a UK Border Force vehicle checkpoint in Coquelles, France. After the parcels were intercepted, he was interviewed by HMRC officers and arrested on 1 December 2011 and summonsed to court. He failed to attend Manchester & Salford’s Magistrates Court on 18 July 2014 and both bench and European warrants were issued for his arrest. He was extradited back to the UK from Spain in September 2014. He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to contravene section 170(2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 on 24 October 2014 at Manchester Crown Court.
  • Adam Robinson, DOB 04/10/86, of Saunders Close, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale, Lancashire, was sentenced to 30 months in jail on 16 June 2015. He was stopped with his father on 14 October 2011 at a UK Border Force vehicle checkpoint in Coquelles, France. After the parcels were intercepted, he was interviewed by HMRC officers and arrested on 1 December 2011 and summonsed to court. He failed to attend Manchester & Salford’s Magistrates Court on 18 July 2014 and both bench and European warrants were issued for his arrest. He was extradited back to the UK from Spain in September 2014. He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to contravene section 170(2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 on 24 October 2014 at Manchester Crown Court.
  • Christopher Quint, DOB 13/04/56, of Starkey Street, Heywood, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was sentenced on 16 June 2015 to 16 weeks jail, suspended for two years, plus a 200-hour community work order. He was arrested on 24 March 2012 after HMRC checks on the parcels into the UK. He pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in six individual counts of illegal importation and asked for a further eight to be taken into consideration on 18 May 2015 at  Manchester Crown Court. He allowed his home to be used as one of the destinations for the parcels containing illegal tobacco products.

2.Between 1 January 2009 and 31 October 2011, this gang were involved in at least 109 importations of illegal tobacco products by post from Europe (from Spain, Poland, Luxemburg, Germany and Belgium) totalling 1,087 kilos of hand rolling tobacco and 429,600 cigarettes. In total they attempted to evade UK duty of £229,012.47. The parcels they sent were destined for addresses in the north west and north east of England, including Quint’s home address in Rochdale.

3.Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @hmrcpressoffice

4.Photographs are available from the press officers below or on HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

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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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HMRC Press Office

HMRC Press Office

Press contact 03000 585018

HMRC Regional Press Officer - North West

Press Officer for North West Lancashire, G. Manchester, Merseyside & Cheshire 03000 525 872

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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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