Driver who smuggled 5m cigarettes is jailed

A lorry driver, who illegally imported 5.4 million cigarettes into the UK hidden in apple boxes, was jailed for two years and eight months today, HM Revenue and Customs said.

Hungarian Norbert Dusnoki, 30, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to fraudulently evading £1 million in revenue on the smuggled goods.

Regal and Superkings brand cigarettes were discovered in fruit boxes, hidden beneath a layer of boxes actually containing apples.

The lorry had arrived at Portsmouth Ferry Port by ferry from Caen, France, on April 10 this year, the court heard.

John Cooper, HMRC assistant director criminal investigation, said: "Hiding the cigarettes beneath a load of apples was a blatant attempt to evade duty and deprive the UK of public funds.

"Legitimate retailers would have had their trade undercut had the cigarettes reached the UK's streets.

"Criminals don't care about the impact their actions have on others - they only care about profit."