Northern Ireland woman had a million illegal cigarettes
A Co Armagh woman who stored almost one million illegal cigarettes in an outbuilding has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for three years.
Charlene Hughes (36), from Foughillotra Road, Jonesborough, was sentenced at Newry Crown Court yesterday following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
In April 2013, Hughes was found to have 953,280 cigarettes and 46.2 litres of vodka, worth an estimated £262,699 in lost duty and taxes, during a search of her address conducted by the PSNI.
The case was referred to HMRC for investigation and the goods were seized.
Steve Tracey, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: "Criminals like Hughes are undercutting hard-working, legitimate businesses who simply can't compete with these illegal products.
"Tobacco fraud costs the UK £2.5bn a year in lost tax, money that should be funding our public services."
He added: "When caught, fraudsters will have their goods seized, and face a criminal record and possible prison sentence."