Smuggler caught with tens of thousands of cigarettes

A smuggler has been handed a prison sentence after being caught bringing thousands of pounds of illegal tobacco into the country.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Illegal haul of tobacco Leila Messaoudi tried to smuggle through Manchester Airport

Leila Messaoudi was stopped after trying to bring 22,600 cigarettes and 80.5 kilos of shisha tobacco through Manchester Airport.

The 43-year-old, of Garstang Road West, Blackpool, was caught at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3, carrying suitcases packed with non duty paid cigarettes and tobacco, a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation revealed.

Messaoudi, who had flown from Dubai via London Heathrow, was stopped on May 24, 2018 by UK Border Force officers, who referred the case to HMRC.

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The unpaid duty and VAT on the illegal cigarettes and tobacco was estimated at £26,589.

Messaoudi pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty at Manchester Crown Court.

She was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months and was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and 20 rehabilitation days.