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Man denies cigarette smuggling

PUBLISHED: 20:54 30 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:12 03 March 2010

A MAN accused of smuggling two million cigarettes through Felixstowe told police he had not realised the small white boxes he saw were cigarettes.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Ian Fletcher and a lorry driver had gone to a bonded warehouse in Dartford to pick up a consignment of lady's shoes.

A MAN accused of smuggling two million cigarettes through Felixstowe told police he had not realised the small white boxes he saw were cigarettes.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Ian Fletcher and a lorry driver had gone to a bonded warehouse in Dartford to pick up a consignment of lady's shoes.

Fletcher told one of the officers that a carton of shoes had split open. "I found white boxes at the top," said Fletcher, "it was not apparent that those white boxes were cigarettes".

Fletcher said he did not discover the white boxes until the shoes were being unloaded at a warehouse on an industrial estate in Leicestershire.

Fletcher, 35, his business partner Stuart Taylor, 43, and Taylor's friend Mark Bryan, 34, all of Leicestershire all deny being involved in the fraudulent evasion of duty payable on the cigarettes.

Anthony Bate prosecuting alleged that the duty payable on the 2.3 million cigarettes was £400,000.

The trial continues.

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