Thursday, 8 September 2011

Duty Free gang jailed after 2.3m cigarette haul

A leader of a gang responsible for purchasing 2.3 million cigarettes through duty free stores has been jailed for 5 years. Michael Pitt, from Islington was jailed along with five other gang members.

The investigation by HM Revenue & Customs found that the gang purchased the huge quantities of cigarettes using counterfeit boarding cards or one way open tickets. HM Revenue & Customs have calculated that the duty evaded between February 2009 and May 2012 amounts to £545,933.

It is believed that Pitt and his gang would purchase the cigarettes in the duty free stores at UK airports and then either exit through domestic arrival channels or travel internally to continue the fraud at the destination airport.

One of the gang, Tracey Smith, worked at Manchester Airport and was key to facilitating the operation from her position. She is to be sentenced in October.