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Jatinder Bains
Jatinder Bains

Press release -

Tobacco smuggling kingpin jailed

The head of an international tobacco smuggling operation has been jailed for six years.

Jatinder Bains, 52, of Butterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, smuggled more than 20 million illegal cigarettes into the UK worth £4.5million in evaded duty, and used the proceeds to fund his lavish lifestyle.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers seized the cigarettes and discovered a further plot to smuggle cigarettes into the country from Vietnam.

Criminal investigators from the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) in the Netherlands passed on phone recordings that proved Bains was smuggling cigarettes into the UK with the help of Dutch criminal gangs.

Bains filled the driveway of his £920,000 Staffordshire manor with a fleet of expensive cars, including a Land Rover and Range Rover. He also regularly travelled to India, Malaysia and Dubai.

Kate Roberts, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Bains imported and distributed vast amounts of cigarettes and evaded millions of pounds of taxes. That’s money that should have been supporting our public services instead of funding further plots to smuggle cigarettes."

“Cheap cigarettes come at a cost as they often fund other organised crime and illegal activity that causes real harm to our communities. Smugglers are criminals who don’t care who they sell to, including children.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to report it online.”

Bains used a network of haulage firms, drivers and trucks to smuggle the cigarettes.

More than three million Regal and Marlboro branded cigarettes were seized after a lorry shipment linked to Bains was searched in Dover.

A further 3.2 million Lambert and Butler, Jims, Richman and Gold Classic branded cigarettes were seized from an industrial unit in Sandbach. The cigarettes were stashed behind boxes of ice cream cones and biscuits.

HMRC seized 29 mobile phones and various documents linking him to the shipments during search warrants executed as part of a different investigation in 2017. The following year he was arrested at his luxury manor on suspicion of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

Bains was found guilty of tax evasion and money laundering following a trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court in October 2023.

He was sentenced to six years at the same court on 07 November 2023.

Notes to Editors

  1. Jatinder Bains, DOB 14/05/1971, of Butterton, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, was sentenced to six years for conspiring to cheat the public revenue by arranging the importation of cigarettes into the UK, avoiding the duty owed contrary to the Criminal Law Act (1977) and entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  2. The information passed on to HMRC by FIOD was done so via by virtue of an international letter of request (ILOR).
  3. Broadcast interviews with a HMRC spokesperson are available on request
  4. You can find out more about HMRC's approach to tax fraud at
  5. Follow HMRC’s 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.


HMRC Press Officer - Law Enforcement Desk (AP)

Press Officer Law Enforcement 03000 598 834

HMRC Senior Press Officer - Law Enforcement Desk

Family & Law Enforcement Desk 03000 589 546
HMRC Press Office

HMRC Press Office

Press contact 03000 585 018

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