Seaside trip goes up in smoke

A large unlawful haul of cigarettes has proved damaging for a Leven man
A large unlawful haul of cigarettes has proved damaging for a Leven man

A Leven man, who brought home more than a stick of rock from a trip to Blackpool, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to customs and excise fraud.

James Dalrymple, of Glendale, was caught in April this year with almost 240,000 illicit cigarettes hidden in his van.

The 65-year-old was stopped on the M6 in Cumbria by police, who checked his vehicle and discovered the illicit haul.

They handed the case to officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for investigation.

Dalrymple admitted evading over £60,000 in excise duty after he was caught with the cigarettes and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.

On Friday, at Carlisle Crown Court, he was fined £4000 and ordered to pay £340 costs and a £120 surcharge, as well as having his van confiscated. He faces a three-month prison sentence if the money is not paid in 12 months.

Sandra Smith, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Dalrymple was caught red-handed with a massive amount of illicit cigarettes.

“He thought he could make a quick profit at the expense of honest shopkeepers and taxpayers, but he was wrong.

“Illicit cigarettes cause real harm to communities across the country. They take over £2bn away from essential public services and are sold to young and vulnerable people without any care for rules or regulations.

“If you have any information that can help us in our continuing crackdown on illicit tobacco, call the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”