Published: 00:00, 25 October 2016
| Updated: 17:33, 25 October 2016
A lorry driver was caught smuggling 2.6 million fake cigarettes into the UK, hidden behind boxes of rotten apples.
Officers discovered the load, worth £655,327, after Polish Pawel Michal Maroszek, 32, was stopped by Border Force officials in Dover.
Maroszek has now been jailed for 21 months.
The illicit L&M King Size cigarettes were found surrounded by pallets of rotten apples in May this year.
Maroszek had previously pleaded not guilty to the crime, but changed his plea to guilty before his trial started at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday.
Alan Tully from HM Revenues and Customs said after the case: "Maroszek thought the cigarettes were well concealed within the load of rotten apples and wouldn’t be discovered. But he was wrong and he is now paying for his crime.
"We continue to work with other enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK around £2 billion a year in stolen revenue.
"Don’t let criminals profit by undermining legitimate retailers.
"Anyone with information about the smuggling or illegal sale of tobacco can report it by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000."
In the last two years alone, more than 3.5 billion illicit cigarettes and over 599 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized resulting in 848 prosecutions.
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