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Jail for ciggy smugglers

PUBLISHED: 18:55 21 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:30 03 March 2010

SIX Hungarian and British smugglers have been jailed for bringing seven million cigarettes in to the country through the port of Felixstowe.

The gang was jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court after Felixstowe customs officers discovered the cigarettes in a consignment of computer printers from India last November.

SIX Hungarian and British smugglers have been jailed for bringing seven million cigarettes in to the country through the port of Felixstowe.

The gang was jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court after Felixstowe customs officers discovered the cigarettes in a consignment of computer printers from India last November.

A gang of Hungarians, who masterminded the smuggling operation, could have evaded in excess of £1.1million revenue.

Those sentenced yesterday were Minaly Ungvari, 43, from Osterley in Middlesex, who was jailed for four years; Stephen Fisher, 31, from Wolverhampton, jailed for 15 months and Roy Locke, 42, from Tipton in West Midlands, was also sentenced to 15 months.

The smugglers from Hungary were Istvan Kiss, 36, who was jailed for four years; Zoltan Anosi, 31, who was given two years and Sandor Nyari, 30, who was jailed for three years. The jury failed to reach verdicts on two other people.

In November last year Felixstowe customs officers discovered boxes labelled as having computer printers inside were packed with two cartons of 10,000 Sovereign brand cigarettes.

An operation code named 'WIDELY' was mounted and the cigarettes were delivered to a self-storage unit at Harold Hill, Essex.

Customs' investigators caught members of the gang while the boxes containing the cigarettes were being unloaded and made a series of arrests.

"This was an operation undertaken by criminals hoping to make a large profit at the expense of the Revenue," said John Barber, regional customs spokesman.

"The smuggling of tobacco and cigarettes in whatever form hurts the whole community.

"It may seem victimless, but I would urge people to think more about this crime; think about the public services that the lost revenue could fund, or the local businesses under threat due to unfair competition from illicit supplies."

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