Jail for Cambridgeshire man caught attempting to smuggle more than 39,000 cigarettes and 179 kilos of tobacco

Darius Rutkauskas

Darius Rutkauskas - Credit: Archant

A man has been jailed for 16 months for attempting to smuggle thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes and tobacco.

Darius Rutkauskas, 36, was stopped by police at the side of the A142 between Ely and Soham back in January and, during a search of his vehicle, officers discovered more than 12 kilos of hand rolling tobacco in the front foot well.

Revenue and Customs officers were called in and interviewed Rutkauskas at his home address in Whitgift Road, Teversham, a few days later.

His van was searched and officers found further quantities of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco. More than 1,400 Lithuanian cigarettes were discovered in the front of the van, and a brown cardboard box located the rear contained 20 kilos of hand rolling tobacco.

A search of his house uncovered another 85 kilos of rolling tobacco and more than 38,000 mixed brand cigarettes concealed in the upstairs rooms and 60 kilos of rolling tobacco in boxes in his garage.

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At Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, Rutkauskas was sentenced to 16months imprisonment, eight months to be served in gaol and eight months suspended on licence.

Officers estimated the excise duty loss at more than £38,000.

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Paul Barton, assistant director of criminal investigation, at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, said: “Rutkauskas was caught red-handed with tobacco in his van that he knew was illegal. He blatantly continued his illegal activities and was again found in possession of larger quantities of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco.

“This criminal activity damages not only the UK economy but the livelihoods of local Cambridgeshire shop keepers who have to compete against this illegal trade.”

People with information about tobacco smuggling should call the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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