Sheffield crook involved in £1m illegal booze and fags op ordered to pay back £3k

Irvin Dunn and Wayne Dunn outside Sheffield Crown Court.
Irvin Dunn and Wayne Dunn outside Sheffield Crown Court.
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A Sheffield crook who orchestrated a £1m illegal cigarette, tobacco and alcohol business from his prison cell has been ordered to pay back just £3,000 after a financial investigation revealed him to have minimal assets.

Father-of-seven Irvin Dunn was jailed for three years in January last year for his role in a 2013 conspiracy that involved the distribution and sale of hundreds of thousands of cigarettes that had no tax paid on them, as well as the storage of hundreds of litres of illegal vodka and beer in a barn near Doncaster.

Irvin Dunn and Wayne Dunn outside Sheffield Crown Court.

Irvin Dunn and Wayne Dunn outside Sheffield Crown Court.

The court was told that Irvin Dunn, aged 57, played a central role in the conspiracy, despite being in prison at the time for causing unnecessary suffering to animals at a farm he had run.

Irvin Dunn, originally from Sheffield, was brought to Sheffield Crown Court from custody this morning for a brief proceeds of crime hearing during which Recorder John Thackery was told that the defendant's benefit from criminal conduct had been assessed at £237,783.68.

But following a financial investigation by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Irvin Dunn was deemed to only have £3,000 in 'realisable assets'.

Recorder Thackery made a confiscation order for £3,000, which prosecutor Richard Jepson told the court police were already in possession of.

If Irvin Dunn is found to have more assets in the future he can still be asked to repay more money at a later date.

During last year's sentencing, Sheffield Crown Court was told that the seized goods were estimated of the seized goods being worth around £250,000, with seized ‘deal sheets’ indicating an estimated further income of £805,907 from sales.

Irvin Dunn's brother, Wayne Dunn, of Abbeyfield Road, Pitsmoor, Sheffield, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment at the same time after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade duty over his role in the illegal business. He was freed last year, after serving half of his sentence.

During this morning's hearing, the court was told that the 58-year-old's benefit from criminal conduct was assessed as being £3,280. He was found to have realisable assets of £1,971.56, and Recorder Thackery made a confiscation order for the same amount.

Lee Pearson, of Wilberforce Road, South Anston who was sentenced to was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 month last January, after admitting to being in charge of the storage premises where hundreds of litres of illegal vodka and beer were sold.

The 34-year-old's benefit from his criminal conduct in the conspiracy was found to be £1,000, and a confiscation order was made for the same amount.

At last year's sentencing, Sheffield Crown Court was told that the full extent of the fraud began to unravel after HMRC officers witnessed the handover of a bag containing almost £110,000 involving two Irish members of the gang - James Woods and Vincent McGeough - close to East Midlands Airport in April 2013.

Woods was arrested immediately but McGeough fled, flagging down a car only to find it was being driven by an HMRC investigator. He was then arrested and mobile phones and the cash seized.

It soon became clear Wayne Dunn was an associate of the men, having been observed meeting with them earlier on the same day. He was arrested shortly afterwards.

The development helped investigators link Wayne Dunn back to an unattended van found laden with 169,000 illicit cigarettes in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in January 2013, from which records showing tobacco purchases and sales were seized.

One of the vans full of cigarettes Searches were carried out of Dunn’s home as the conspiracy unfolded, leading HMRC officers to his younger brother, Irvin Dunn, who appeared to be organising the fraud from his prison cell.

Transcripts of prison phone calls between Irvin Dunn and his brother Wayne showed the jailed man passing commands about the conspiracy to his older brother via coded messages.

The fifth person to be sentenced, Lee Pearson, was connected to the case in October 2013 after a van linked to the Dunn brothers was found outside barns in Everton, near Doncaster, that were used as storage premises and looked after by him.

The vehicle was strewn with packets of tobacco and cigarettes after having its window smashed in a break-in.

Investigators found tobacco and more than 1,000 litres of illicit beer and vodka, which contained toxic methanol 150 times the legal limit, inside the barns.

Pearson was in charge of the premises and phone analysis showed he was part of the conspiracy, having sold on some of the tobacco to family members.

Both James Woods, aged 58, of Canal Road, Dundalk, Republic of Ireland and Vincent McGeough, aged 68, Caramoyle Estate, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, were given 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months after pleading guilty to money laundering.