Belfast boatman smuggled cigarettes

Published Friday, 01 June 2012
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A 40 year-old man who smuggled 200,000 cigarettes through Belfast Port where he worked as boatman, has been sentenced to 200 hours community service.

Belfast boatman smuggled cigarettes
The boatman smuggled 200,000 cigarettes into Belfast Port where he worked. (© Belfast Harbour Commission)

Gerard Maxwell of North Hill Street in Belfast pleaded guilty last month to the evasion of over £47,000 of duty on the smuggled Russian cigarettes after an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

John Whiting, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation for HMRC said: "Maxwell used his position as an employee at Belfast Docks to facilitate the smuggling and sale of illicit cigarettes.

"Tobacco smuggling is organised fraud on a global scale, encouraging and supporting criminality within our communities, and robbing taxpayers of millions each year in unpaid duty and VAT.

"Although you may think you are getting a bargain, you really have no idea what you are paying for."

Harbour Police uncovered the cigarettes in a transit van after observing suspicious activity next to a ship moored in Belfast Port.

Maxwell, who facilitated the exchange, initially claimed he had been out for a walk and had accidently left his mobile phone and keys in a van, whilst giving directions to the driver.

He later pleaded guilty to arranging the supply of the cigarettes to the van driver. A search of Maxwell's house uncovered a small quantity of cigarettes, bearing the same batch markings as those in the van.

The cigarettes, along with £2,660 in cash, found in Maxwell's Belfast home, were seized by HMRC. Jakabauskas also pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to three months imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Tomc in Belfast wrote (872 days ago):
200 hours community service! Who said crime doesn't pay! Who nows how much he actually facilitated in total.
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