Smuggler to appear in court

AN ALLEGED smuggler is to appear in court after customs officers seized six million contraband cigarettes after they were discovered at Felixstowe.Paul Ellingham, of Highfield Road, Chelmsford, is charged with being knowingly concerned in the evasion of duty said to be worth about £1million.

AN ALLEGED smuggler is to appear in court after customs officers seized six million contraband cigarettes after they were discovered at Felixstowe.

Paul Ellingham, of Highfield Road, Chelmsford, is charged with being knowingly concerned in the evasion of duty said to be worth about £1million.

The 34-year-old is on conditional bail until May 7 following the seizure of the Benson and Hedges cigarettes.

The cigarettes were discovered by customs officers at Felixstowe in a container said to contain kitchen equipment, which had arrived from China.

The consignment was delivered to a farm near Dunmow in Essex where two men were arrested as officers swooped.

The pair were interviewed by Ipswich-based investigators. However they were released without charge pending further inquiries.

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Ellingham was arrested on Thursday last week and charged. He appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates in Ipswich yesterday and was given bail.

The Port of Felixstowe is constantly targeted by cigarette smugglers. Last Friday it was reported that over the previous two weeks 18 million illicit cigarettes has been discovered by HM Customs at the docks.

In the past gangs have attempted to smuggle bootlegged cigarettes from such countries as Egypt, Belgium, Russia and Singapore.

In order to stop the cigarettes making it in to the black market, a new multi million pound X-ray machine was installed at Felixstowe docks.

Its first detection of six million illegal cigarettes led to Somerset man, Keith Lovell being jailed for five years after the cargo was discovered in a lorry in January last year.

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