A Motherwell man has been sentenced after he was caught smuggling 900 kilos of illicit tobacco while on a run to England.
Ahsan Javed, 43, of Bruce Avenue, Motherwell, evaded more than £120,000 in Excise Duty in the fraud, a HM Revenue and Customs investigation has found.
Javed’s white Mercedes Sprinter van was stopped on the southbound carriageway of the M74 near Beattock by police officers, in July 2017..
Police suspected the van was overweight and mounted a search.
During a second search they found 50g pouches of hand-rolled tobacco stashed inside the vehicle,
The products lacked the requisite markings of UK duty being paid.
As a consequence of this, the search quickly accelerated amidst wider fears about the nature of Javed’s cargo.
HMRC officers were called to investigate - and the matter did not end there.
For then discovered 898 kilos of illicit tobacco inside 90 black bags.
Javed told the officers he was transporting the tobacco to business associates who were based inBirmingham.
He was detained and charged with Excise Duty fraud on the same day.
Javed pleaded guilty to evading £120,677 Excise Duty at Lanark Sheriff Court on 28 August 2019.
He was sentenced to a Community Payback Order of 200 hours unpaid work when he appeared before the same court last week (Wednesday, October 2)
Now a warning is being issued to anyone who is involved in this sort of offence - by the two separate agencies who were involved in bringing Javed to justice.
Joe Hendry, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:“People like Javed, who are involved in the supply and sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes, are depriving public services of vital funding.
“They are also undermining legitimate traders who sell these goods legally.
“The tax lost is more than the average cost of a house in North Lanarkshire - which is £105,280.
“The fact is that these crimes affect us all .
“We ask anyone with information about suspected tax fraud to report it to HMRC online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Chief Inspector Darren Faulds of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit echoed this view
And he warned that both uniformed and plainclothes officers were watching out for smugglers on key routes in Lanarkshire and beyond.
He said “We put considerable effort into deterring criminals from using the road network for their own illegal ends and detecting those who choose to do so.
“Highly visible and unmarked patrols are carried out every day.
“This is , particularly on key motorway routes such as in this case.
“We are committed to working closely with partners from HMRC and Trading Standards to bring anyone found to be carrying illegal or fraudulent goods to justice.”