Cigarette smugglers jailed

FELIXSTOWE: Two smugglers are beginning jail terms today after taking part in a plot to import millions of illegal cigarettes through the port.

Colin Adwent

FELIXSTOWE: Two smugglers are beginning jail terms today after taking part in a plot to import millions of illegal cigarettes through the port.

Welder Ross Fallon and David Reed, both aged 30, were sentenced to 18 months and three years' imprisonment respectively for their part in the conspiracy.

The scam was foiled by customs officers when they swooped to seize more than three million duty-free cigarettes disguised in a cargo of dishcloths, dustpans and plastic cutlery.


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Fallon and Reed, both from Bradford, were caught in November 2008 after a container arrived at the port of Felixstowe.

Customs officers trailed the container to an industrial estate in Baildon, Bradford, where they caught Fallon and two other men red-handed unloading the cigarettes.

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The haul contained counterfeit brands, most of which are well-known, but all were marked as duty-free. The seizure was worth around �600,000 in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

Fallon denied being involved in smuggling and said he was unloading the container, which he had bought for �5,000 in a chance meeting with a stranger in a local Indian restaurant. He said he believed it contained simply dustpans, brushes and cups.

Subsequently investigators found Fallon had not only arranged the illegal cargo, but also uncovered CCTV footage of him paying the shipping fees. Fallon eventually pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.

His co-conspirator Reed was arrested last January and convicted after a trial at Bradford Crown Court late last year.

Reed was heavily involved in making arrangements for the smooth delivery of the contraband using his knowledge of the import and transport industry.

Anyone with information about relating to smuggling should telephone HM Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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