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Docker jailed for smuggling

PUBLISHED: 22:00 12 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich docker who tried to con the Inland Revenue out of more than £20,000 duty on smuggled cigarettes, today wept as he was sentenced to jail.

When customs officers swooped on the Levington Road home of 37-year-old David Mickelson they discovered 19,000 cigarettes and 71 kilos of rolling tobacco hidden in his fitted wardrobe.

AN Ipswich docker who tried to con the Inland Revenue out of more than £20,000 duty on smuggled cigarettes, today wept as he was sentenced to jail.

When customs officers swooped on the Levington Road home of 37-year-old David Mickelson they discovered 19,000 cigarettes and 71 kilos of rolling tobacco hidden in his fitted wardrobe.

They also recovered a further 400 cigarettes and three quarters of a kilo of tobacco, all bearing a Benelux Tax Stamp, from his car.

Officers also found a diary detailing a series of deals carried out by Mickelson from May 2002 to January 2003.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that the tax liability for the tobacco, including brands Golden Virginia, Drum and Old Holborn, was £9,882.

The estimated amount of money the Inland Revenue lost on the deals carried out by Mickelson was put at £11,831, making a total loss of duty of £21,714.

Defence council Hugh Vass told the court "getting an easy buck" had motivated Mickelson, who had worked as a cargo handler at Ipswich docks for 15 years.

He said: "But rather being easy money, it turned out to be reverse. His car worth £6,000 was seized by Customs, he lost money on the deals, and he lost his good name".

The court heard how Mickelson, who had previously admitted two charges of tax evasion at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court, was an "exemplary character" and is an excellent father to his eight year old.

The court heard how Mickelson was an "inland recipient" of smuggled cigarettes and not involved in bringing them into the country.

Mr Vass said "he worked at Ipswich docks for 15 years and despite the myriad of opportunity for villainy had a good working record and nothing was found when Customs Officers searched his works locker.

Jailing Mickelson for six months, judge John Holt said the seriousness of the crime demanded imprisonment.

He also made a compensation order for the amount of tax evaded by Mickelson during the deals detailed in his diary.


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