Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cigarette Haul Discovered in Hollowed Logs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cigarette Haul Discovered in Hollowed Logs

Article excerpt

Byline: By Hilary Clixby

A north company boss used his legitimate scrap business as a cover to smuggle over six million cigarettes into the country hidden in a shipment of hollowed-out logs, a court heard.

Paul Stanley was set to evade pounds 1.8m in duty by the illicit haul which arrived on board the MV Kapten from St Petersburg in Russia, it was alleged.

He was arrested after the massive consignment was intercepted by customs officials after its arrival at Goole Docks on Humberside in November 2002, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

"The logs, or some of them, sounded hollow," said Jonathan Carroll, prosecuting on behalf of HM Customs and Excise yesterday. "They gave a positive indicator to a metal detector.

"Suspicion was aroused and one of the logs chiselled into. A package could be seen inside and closer examination revealed the packages contained Sovereign and Viceroy cigarettes."

Further examination revealed wooden bungs had been placed into the logs to disguise the fact they were hollowed out and crammed with cigarettes, the court heard.

"A total of 6.7 million cigarettes were recovered in this case and they had a duty upon them of pounds 1.8m," said Mr Carroll. "It follows that had those cigarettes been imported legitimately into this country, that sum was due to be paid.

"Whoever did import those cigarettes ( and it is the Crown's case it was the defendant ( he or she had absolutely no intention at all of paying a single penny of that duty.

"Indeed every possible step had been taken to avoid those cigarettes being detected by the authorities."

Stanley, 39, of Axwell Park, Blaydon, denies a single count of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of duty between August and November 2002. The court heard Stanley, better known as Jim or Jimmy Stanley, ran or was involved in several businesses including Alan Blair Demolition based in Swalwell, Gateshead. …

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