Port man admits cigarette smuggling

A LOGISTICS manager at Ipswich docks could face jail after admitting being involved in a plot to smuggle millions of cigarettes through the port.Vincent Wilson, 31, of Old Road, Clacton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade duty during a plea and case management hearing at Ipswich Crown Court.

A LOGISTICS manager at Ipswich docks could face jail after admitting being involved in a plot to smuggle millions of cigarettes through the port.

Vincent Wilson, 31, of Old Road, Clacton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade duty during a plea and case management hearing at Ipswich Crown Court.

More than eight million cigarettes were seized after customs officers swooped to seal part of the port off last October.

The revenue due to the government on the contraband was said, at the time of the seizure, to be worth more than £1.2m.


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Wilson worked at the docks, owned by Associated British Ports, and was employed to oversee the removal of containers.

He was released on bail until his sentencing, which is likely to take place in the spring of next year.

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A dozen people were originally arrested during a number of raids involving customs officers, supported by Suffolk and Essex police, on October 27 last year.

The co-ordinated swoop began at 9.30am.

A shipment of illegal cigarettes was seized during the operation after arriving at Ipswich docks from Lithuania.

Another Ipswich man, Gary Richards, 58, of Perkins Way, was originally arrested and charged with the same offence as Wilson, but the case against him has now been discontinued.

A third man from the town, Martin Barr, also known as Martin Eastbrook, 44, of Ashley Street, is due to stand trial at Ipswich Crown Court on April 11 next year with three other alleged racketeers.

The trio are Gary Frost, 51, of Hollyfield, Harlow, Nigel Franks, 46, of Frimley Road, Chessington, and David Turner, 50, of Fen Common, Soham.

All four men awaiting trial have pleaded not guilty to evading duty on the cigarettes and were released on bail until their trial.

Wilson will be sentenced after the jury has brought in its verdict against his alleged co-conspirators.

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