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Lorry driver from Slovenia who smuggled tobacco into Dover hidden among frozen pizza jailed

By Lynn Cox

A lorry driver caught smuggling 1,200 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco into the Britain hidden among frozen pizzas has been locked up.

Border Force officers stopped a lorry, driven by Nebojsa Kuzmanovic, from Slovenia, at the Port of Dover on November 26.

Officers searched the trailer and found tobacco, worth £281,580 in unpaid duty, in boxes amongst the frozen pizzas.

Nebojsa Kuzmanovic, 40, from Slovenia (6267877)
Nebojsa Kuzmanovic, 40, from Slovenia (6267877)

Kuzmanovic was arrested, the tobacco seized and the matter referred to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate.

The 40-year-old was delivering the pizzas to Lincolnshire and initially claimed he had no knowledge of the concealed tobacco before admitting his guilt.

The tobacco was hidden in pizzas (6267879)
The tobacco was hidden in pizzas (6267879)

He was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraudulently evading duty and was locked up for 18 months.

Assistant director, fraud investigation service Tom Hunnisett HMRC, said: "Kuzmanovic was wrong to think he could get away with smuggling tobacco into the UK for his own financial gain.

"The illegal tobacco trade harms honest businesses and deprives the country of money needed to fund our vital public services.

The tobacco hidden in his lorry (6267881)
The tobacco hidden in his lorry (6267881)

"The duty evaded on this illicit tobacco was equivalent to the annual salaries of 12 newly-qualified nurses in Kent.

“HMRC works closely with Border Force to tackle and disrupt this illicit trade and I urge anyone who has information about the smuggling, selling or storing of illicit tobacco to report it to HMRC online, or contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788887.”

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