Press release -
Tobacco smuggler brought to book
A lorry driver who smuggled more than a tonne of hand-rolling tobacco into the UK, hidden within a legitimate load of school books, has been jailed for 21 months after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Aurelijus Repecka, 37, was arrested by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks on 8 September 2017 after five pallets containing non-duty paid ‘Turner’ brand tobacco were found alongside the 27 legitimate pallets of books. Import documents had simply been overwritten to include the five additional pallets.
£241,655 in excise duty was evaded on the 1.1 tonnes of tobacco, and the case was referred to HMRC for criminal investigation.
Tim Clarke, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Repecka hoped his crime would be undetected by adding five pallets of tobacco, packaged in a similar way to the legitimate load of books. But his smuggling attempt was discovered and he’s now paying the price with a jail term.
“HMRC continues to work with other enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK around £2.4 billion a year. Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling should call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Repecka pleaded guilty to evading excise duty at Maidstone Crown Court on 9 October 2017. He was immediately jailed for 21 months.
Notes for Editors
1. Aurelijus REPECKA,DOB 28/09/1980, a lorry driver of Vilnius, Lithuania. He pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty, contrary to section 170(2)(a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
2. In total 1.152 tonnes of tobacco was smuggled, evading £241,655 in excise duty.
3. His photograph is available from HMRC’s Flickr channelwww.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
4. Anyone with information about people suspected of smuggling, selling or storing illegal tobacco should contact our hotline on 0800 788 887 or report it online at: https://www.gov.uk/report-tobacco-or-alcohol-tax-evasion
5. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
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.