Ciggie smuggler jailed for seven years

PUBLISHED: 11:55 30 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

David Turner

David Turner

CIGARETTE smuggler, David Turner, has been jailed for seven years after leading a multi million pound operation. Turner, 51, of Quay Fen Common, Soham was the ring leader of a six-strong smuggling cartel smashed by customs officers. In just three months,

CIGARETTE smuggler, David Turner, has been jailed for seven years after leading a multi million pound operation.

Turner, 51, of Quay Fen Common, Soham was the ring leader of a six-strong smuggling cartel smashed by customs officers.

In just three months, Turner and his gang smuggled millions of illegal cigarettes through Ipswich docks costing the Government £3 million in lost tax.

But they were caught when customs officers set a trap and followed a consignment of contraband to a storage barn.

Surveillance teams also captured Turner on camera as he attended meetings on the roads outside Ipswich where it is believed money changed hands and instructions on the importations were given.

Turner had denied his part in the smuggling operation between August and October 2005 but was convicted after an eight-week trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Now he faces action under the law to confiscate his property for evading excise duty.

In jailing him and his fellow gang members to a total of more than 30 years, Judge Gooding said: "Officers foiled a careful and sophisticated conspiracy to evade duty by the importation on separate occasions of a shipping container of 12 million counterfeit cigarettes. It included setting up facilities, funds and false identification, and crucially the recruitment of a man on the inside at the port."

He went on to say that he commended the officers involved on a thorough and painstaking operation of the highest standards.

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