A Fife man has been jailed for 12 months for a £50,000 contraband tobacco scam.
David Adams (51), of Balcurvie Road, Windygates, appeared for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court for defrauding HM Customs of unpaid duty.
He had been under surveillance by HMRC officers who had been tipped off about his illegal activities.
They monitored his movements for months before carrying out searches of his vehicle and home.
Adams previously admitted that on numerous dates between September 12 and November 12, 2014 at the car park at Premier Inn, Fife Leisure Park, Dunfermline; the A92 near to the Redhouse roundabout, Kirkcaldy; East Temple, Balcurvie; Balcurvie Road, Windygates; Buena Vista. Kennoway Road, Windygates; Milton Road, Windygates and elsewhere, he was knowingly concerned in carrying and harbouring goods chargeable with a duty which had not been paid, namely quantities of UK duty unpaid hand-rolling tobacco and quantities of UK duty unpaid cigarettes, with intent to defraud HM Customs and Excise of £50,000 in duty.
The court was told Adams, a first offender, was unemployed at the time and saw it as a way of making money. He had since returned to employment as a forklift driver.
Sheriff Charles Macnair said, “In my view this is a serious offence. I can’t accept you somehow thought all that would happen was that they might confiscate the goods.”
The sheriff said Adams’ view, expressed in the social work report, that the victims of him being caught were members of the public no longer able to buy contraband tobacco, was “nothing short of risible”.
He jailed Adams for 12 months and forfeiture of cash sums of £1350 and £2800 recovered in raids.
Meanwhile, sentence has been deferred on another Windygates man, who was involved in a similar scam.
Joseph Ward (54), of Buenas Vista, Kennoway Road, admitted two offences which took place on May 30, 2014 on the A985 Admiralty Road, Rosyth, at his home and elsewhere.
He admitted he was knowingly concerned in carrying and harbouring a quantity of counterfeit cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco which were chargeable with a duty which had not been paid, with intent with to defraud HM customs and excise of £25,542.33.
He also admitted that, with a view to make gain and without the consent of the proprietor, he had in his possession, custody or control in the course of his business as a supplier of tobacco products, namely quantities of cigarettes and tobacco products bearing packaging identical to or likely to be mistaken for Mayfair, Golden Virginia, Amber Leaf and Bon International.
Dev Kapadia, fiscal depute, told the court that a van driven by Ward had been stopped and searched on the A985 near Rosyth by police acting on intelligence received, and tobacco products were found inside.
Ward told officers, “They’re not stolen or anything. They’re just contraband.”
Ward is opposing the forfeiture of £3000 in cash found in his vehicle. A proof will be heard on January 17 before sentencing takes place.