Raid un­cov­ers £120k of il­le­gal cig­a­rettes

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

AN AL­LEGED tax fraud­ster has ap­peared in court af­ter more than 600,000 il­licit cig­a­rettes were seized from a con­tainer in Mar­ket Deep­ing.

HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms (HMRC) of­fi­cers made the dis­cov­ery af­ter a visit to a stor­age premises in the town on Mon­day.

Pack­ets ap­par­ently of the Chi­nese Jin Ling brand con­tain­ing 607,000 cig­a­rettes were seized dur­ing the op­er­a­tion, with the value of duty evaded on the goods claimed to be £120,000.

HMRC has said it is be­lieved that Peter­bor­ough would have been tar­geted for the sale of the cig­a­rettes.

Alek­sander Sergevich Laryn, a 31year-old Rus­sian whose last known ad­dress was in Spald­ing, was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the dis­cov­ery and ap­peared at Gran­tham Mag­is­trates’ Court on Wed­nes­day.

He was charged on sus­pi­cion of the fraud­u­lent eva­sion of duty.

He has been re­manded in cus­tody pend­ing his next hear­ing at the court, which will be on De­cem­ber 21.

Bob Gaiger, East of Eng­land spokesman for HMRC, said the op­er­a­tion showed a clear com­mit­ment from Cus­toms that any sus­pected smug­gling would not be tol­er­ated.

He said: “I am un­able to give fur­ther de­tails at this time as our in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing.

“How­ever, our ac­tions send out a clear mes­sage to those tempted to be­come in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties of this na­ture – we take to­bacco fraud ex­tremely se­ri­ously and will pur­sue any­one be­lieved to be in­volved in this type of crime.”

Cur­rently, the cig­a­rettes are un­der­go­ing test­ing with HMRC to see whether they are gen­uine cig­a­rettes that have been po­ten­tially smug­gled into the coun­try, or whether they are coun­ter­feit cig­a­rettes that could con­tain all man­ner of chem­i­cals.

A HMRC spokes­woman said that Cus­toms had run across coun­ter­feit Jin Ling cig­a­rettes be­fore and that tests had found such cig­a­rettes had con­tained traces of ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing rat poi­son and rat ex­cre­ment.

In fact, the Jin Ling brand is not al­lowed to be sold in the UK as the firm does not have the cor­rect UK li­cences, HMRC said.

The spokes­woman said: “We are try­ing to find out at the mo­ment whether these cig­a­rettes are the gen­uine brand or whether they are fake.

“Jin Ling cig­a­rettes are sold abroad and ob­vi­ously in China, but they can­not be sold legally here in the UK.

“We are not sure for whom these cig­a­rettes were in­tended, but we be­lieve they would have been passed on to peo­ple in the Peter­bor­ough area.”

Any­one who has no­ticed sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity can call po­lice on 101 or Crimestop­pers, anony­mously, on 0800 555111.

To re­port a sus­pected tax eva­sion, call the HMRC Tax Eva­sion Hot­line

SEIZED: A sam­ple of the cig­a­rettes found in a stor­age con­tainer by Cus­toms’ of­fi­cers

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