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Tobacco smuggler Vilmantas Mikalajunas, 37, jailed after hiding stash in boxes of plastic waste

By Beth Robson

A lorry driver who smuggled half a tonne of hand-rolling tobacco into the UK is now behind bars.

Vilmantas Mikalajunas, 37, was arrested by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks on October 28, 2017, when six pallets containing non-duty paid Turner brand tobacco were found in the lorry.

The case was referred to HMRC criminal investigators, who found £108,346 in excise duty was evaded on 516 kilos of tobacco.

Vilmantas Mikalajunas, 37, has been jailed for 15 months after he admitted smuggling tobacco in boxes of plastic waste
Vilmantas Mikalajunas, 37, has been jailed for 15 months after he admitted smuggling tobacco in boxes of plastic waste

The import papers were fake and the cargo was a load of lumpy plastic waste, packed in cardboard boxes to look like a legitimate consignment.

Tim Clarke, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Mikalajunas must have hoped that the hidden tobacco would go undetected within the consignment. But his smuggling attempt, false paperwork and sham cargo were discovered and he’s now paying the price with a jail term.

“HMRC continues to work with Border Force to tackle illicit tobacco that harms honest businesses and takes money from public services. Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling should call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Mikalajunas pleaded guilty to evading excise duty at Maidstone Crown Court on last Monday, November 27.

He was immediately jailed for 15 months.

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