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Man found not guilty of smuggling

PUBLISHED: 12:50 14 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

A MAN accused of smuggling more than seven million cigarettes through Felixstowe has been found not guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.

Alexander Thake, 41, of Romford, was allegedly involved in a plot to avoid paying £1.

A MAN accused of smuggling more than seven million cigarettes through Felixstowe has been found not guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.

Alexander Thake, 41, of Romford, was allegedly involved in a plot to avoid paying £1.25 million duty on the consignment.

The court heard that the cigarettes were found in a container of children's jumpers from Greece.

Thake, who ran a business with his brother, denied knowingly evading the duty payable on the cigarettes.

During his trial the jury were heard Thake told the authorities he had collected the wrong container from the docks.

He told officers he did not know what was in the container but had been informed he had collected the wrong one.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Thake and a lorry driver had collected a consignment from Felixstowe Docks and were taking it to Leeds.

Thake had allegedly been in a Felixstowe café while the driver arranged the paperwork needed to collect the container. On the outskirts of Leeds Thake received a telephone call from his brother and business partner, Tony Thake, who told them to return home.

Thake told police "He said come home you have not got a delivery address and it looks like you have got the wrong container."

Thake said he would not usually be in the lorry but business was quiet and he was "just going along for a drive".

The court heard that shortly after the lorry commenced it's return journey police and customs seized it and arrested Thake.

He told police after his brother had phone it had taken a few minutes to turn the lorry round. The lorry's tachograph showed it had actually pulled over for about 50 minutes.

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