Smuggler facing jail
CIGARETTE smuggler David Turner, of Soham, is facing a long jail term after leading a multi million pound operation. Turner, 51, was the ring leader of a six-strong smuggling cartel smashed by customs officers. In just three months, Turner and his gang sm
CIGARETTE smuggler David Turner, of Soham, is facing a long jail term after leading a multi million pound operation.
Turner, 51, 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 set up a fictitious company to import the cigarettes and a search of his home at Quay Fen Common uncovered documents linking him to money transfers to Latvia.
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His daughter Annette's home next door was also searched and more documents linking Turner to three importations from Latvia to Ipswich were discovered in a tool chest. She was never charged.
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.
The court had been told that he has also been convicted of excise fraud in 2001 in relation to alcohol.
John Phillips, Revenue and Customs acting head of criminal investigation for the east said: "This was a sophisticated attempt to smuggle on a massive scale.
"Cigarette smuggling is serious, organised crime and often provides the funding for much larger criminal activities.
"For this reason alone we need to flush out the criminals involved in this activity and strip their proceeds from them. But smuggling is also a crime against the honest taxpayer, as it takes away money from the public purse which could be used to help improve local communities and provide funding for vital public services."
While Turner was awaiting trial his home in Soham was damaged in an arson attack.
On September 14 last year tyres were piled up against the front door and set alight.
Turner's young daughter and Russian-born wife were at home at the time. The culprit was never found.