Belfast Telegraph

Armagh man avoids jail over tobacco tax fraud

The cigarettes seized by HMRC
The cigarettes seized by HMRC

A Co Armagh man has received a suspended prison sentence for evading more that £40,000 in tax on cigarettes and tobacco.

Bernard McShane (48), of Forkest Road, Forkhill was stopped by police on the Victoria Road in Londonderry in February 2018.

HMRC officers searched his car uncovered 30kg of non-UK duty paid hand-rolling tobacco in the boot.

A follow-up search of his home led to the seizure of 60,136 non-UK duty paid cigarettes and a further 5.1kg of tobacco.

At Newry Crown Court on Monday, McShane pleaded guilty to excise fraud a received an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Steve Tracey of HMRC's Fruad Investigation Service said: “McShane’s criminal activity undermines legitimate retailers who have to compete with the illicit tobacco trade.

"Illegal tobacco costs the UK economy around £1.8 billion a year - money needed to fund vital public services.

The evidence seized by HMRC
The evidence seized by HMRC

“Anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal tobacco can report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

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