Four people from Doncaster sentenced for involvement in criminal tobacco gang

Some of the cigarettes seized by HMRC
Some of the cigarettes seized by HMRC

Four people from Doncaster have been hauled before the courts for their involvement in a tobacco smuggling gang that attempted to flood the UK streets with millions of illicit cigarettes, and evade more than £1 million in unpaid duty.

The 11-strong criminal gang smuggled tobacco products into the UK and evaded £1,230,707 in tax duty.

HMRC officers seized this cash from the tobacco gang, that was being stored in a carrier bag

HMRC officers seized this cash from the tobacco gang, that was being stored in a carrier bag

During the investigation HMRC officers seized nearly five million cigarettes, 329kg of hand-rolling tobacco and in excess of £50,000 cash across the Midlands and Yorkshire, during a ten-month period from May 2015. £17,910 of the money found was stashed inside a kitchen bin and other piles of cash were hidden under stairs, car seats and around the homes of several gang members.

All 11 members of the gang were sentenced during a hearing held at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday (Friday, August 18).

65-year-old Leonard Mallett, of St Giles Gate, Scawsby was jailed for 18-months, after admitting to a range of charges including intent to defraud and to the prejudice of Her Majesty's Revenue, conspired together and with other persons unknown to cheat Her Majesty's Revenue by evading the duty chargeable on tobacco and failure to pay to Her Majesty's Revenue any duty chargeable on those tobacco products.

Mallett's daughter, Emily Mallett, 38, of Melling Avenue, Sprotbrough was sentenced to 16 months, suspended for 24 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £480 for her part in the smuggling gang.

She pleaded guilty to intent to defraud and to the prejudice of Her Majesty's Revenue, conspired together and with other persons unknown to cheat Her Majesty's Revenue by evading the duty chargeable on tobacco and failure to pay to Her Majesty's Revenue any duty chargeable on those tobacco products.

Paul Slack, 37, was found guilty of intent to defraud and to the prejudice of Her Majesty's Revenue, conspired together and with other persons unknown to cheat Her Majesty's Revenue by evading the duty chargeable on tobacco and failure to pay to Her Majesty's Revenue any duty chargeable on those tobacco products following a trial.

Slack, of Mona Road, Balby was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for 24 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £750.

Liam Watt, 31, of Herrick Gardens, Balby also admitted to intent to defraud and to the prejudice of Her Majesty's Revenue, conspired together and with other persons unknown to cheat Her Majesty's Revenue by evading the duty chargeable on tobacco and failure to pay to Her Majesty's Revenue any duty chargeable on those tobacco products.

He was sentenced to 16 months, suspended for 24 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £750.

Mahomed Safir Daud, 48, of Byway Road, Leicester led the criminal gang and was sentenced to three years in prison for charges of intent to defraud and to the prejudice of Her Majesty's Revenue, conspired together and with other persons unknown to cheat Her Majesty's Revenue by evading the duty chargeable on tobacco and failure to pay to Her Majesty's Revenue any duty chargeable on those tobacco products.

Speaking after the hearing, Richard Paris, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Daud was at the forefront of a shocking criminal operation which aimed to put masses of illegal tobacco products on the streets and cost UK taxpayers millions of pounds. The gang are now paying the price for their crimes.

“Trade in illegal tobacco harms legitimate businesses and deprives the UK of money which should be used to fund our vital public services. Anyone with information about tax fraud should report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”