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Company boss jailed for trafficking more than £3.5m of cigarettes

Maidstone crown court
Maidstone crown court

The boss of a Kent removals company has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for smuggling over 3.5 million cigarettes into the country.

Anthony Murrell concealed the illicit load among barbecue parts in an attempt to evade £556,381 in duty.

Maidstone Crown Court heard the 44-year-old used his Ashford business Moving On as a front for importing the 3,540,000 cigarettes.

Murrell, of Christchurch Road, Ashford, denied evading duty, but was convicted by a jury after a three-day trial.

His van was stopped when he arrived at Dover’s Eastern Docks on a SeaFrance ferry on July 3 last year.

Nany Udom, prosecuting, said Murrell told customs officers he was carrying barbecues he had collected from a farm in France.

"He didn’t have the address of the farm but offered to show them where it was on the map," she said.

"He also showed them an invoice. This was the only documentation he was able to present relating to his load."

Asked if he had any excise goods, Murrell replied: "No, only chocolate."

But when the pallets in his van were examined a box containing the cigarettes was found.

"We say his account of delivery and collection is nothing short of absurd," said Miss Udom.

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