Cigs case man in arson ordeal

PUBLISHED: 12:28 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 12:02 04 May 2010

ARSONISTS have gutted the Soham home of a man arrested in connection with a £1.2 million cigarette smuggling racket just days after he appeared in court. David Turner, 50, woke in the early hours to find his home in Qua Fen Common full of thick black smok

ARSONISTS have gutted the Soham home of a man arrested in connection with a £1.2 million cigarette smuggling racket just days after he appeared in court.

David Turner, 50, woke in the early hours to find his home in Qua Fen Common full of thick black smoke.

He and his stepdaughter managed to get out of the house but his wife was trapped inside the burning building and had to be rescued from a balcony by firefighters.

Arsonists had put a tyre against the front door of the house and set it alight.

Just over a week earlier, Mr Turner had been bailed by Ipswich Crown Court after his arrest in an alleged cigarette smuggling operation.

More than eight million cigarettes were seized after customs officers swooped on Ipswich docks, sealing off part of the port last October.

A number of raids followed and a dozen people were arrested in an operation involving customs officers, supported by Suffolk and Essex Police.

The revenue due to the Government on the contraband which came in from Lithuania was said, at the time of the seizure, to be more than £1.2million.

Mr Turner has denied evading duty on the cigarettes and was released on bail until his trial on April 11 next year.

He told police that he had been woken in the early hours of September 19 by voices outside his house, which faces the common. Thinking nothing of it, he went back to sleep but was awoken again at 1.25am.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said no arrests had yet been made in connection with the incident.

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