A Doncaster man has been given a suspended jail sentence for his role in a cigarette smuggling gang.
James Christopher Knott, aged 44, of Elm Close, Barnby Dun, was charged with conspiracy for being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty. He was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years and 200 hours community service at Manchester Crown Court.
He was one of four men who tried to evade over £1.3 million in duty and taxes due on sales of almost six million illegal cigarettes.
From February 2012, HMRC officers seized nearly six million illicit cigarettes and 14.5kgs of hand rolling tobacco at locations in Doncaster, Blackburn, Mansfield, and Skelmersdale. The four men were arrested for involvement in the storage, transport and sale of the illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
Sandra Smith, assistant director of criminal investigation at HM Revenue and Customs, said: “These men were attempting to flood the UK with illegal cigarettes solely for their own financial gain. We will pursue those involved in this type of criminal activity and bring them before the courts.
“Tobacco smuggling is organised crime on a global scale. It encourages and supports criminality within our communities, denying our country millions of pounds of vital revenue every year.
“I would urge anyone with information about people dealing in illicit cigarettes or tobacco to contact us on 0800 59 5000.”