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Smuggler warend he will go to jail

PUBLISHED: 17:04 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

CIGARETTE smuggler Kevin Lovell is facing the prospect of jail today after being the first person convicted thanks to a multi million pound scanner at Felixstowe port.

CIGARETTE smuggler Kevin Lovell is facing the prospect of jail today after being the first person convicted thanks to a multi million pound scanner at Felixstowe port.

Lovell was found guilty of the scam which was worth more than £750,000 in evaded duty on his 40th birthday at the end of an eight day trial at Ipswich Crown court.

He has been warned that he faces a prison term when he is sentenced next month.

A second defendant, Denis Price, 47, of Oldham, was cleared of the charge.

Lovell was remanded in custody and sentence was adjourned for a pre-sentence report. Judge Peter Thompson told Lovell a prison sentence was inevitable.

The court heard that 300,000 packets of cigarettes were brought into the country through Felixstowe from Tenerife in a container.

The duty payable on the load would have been £764,000.

It was alleged by HM Customs officers based in Ipswich that Lovell, of Somerset, and Price were involved in the smuggling operation. Both claimed they had been innocent dupes.

Jim Jarvie, who heads the team investigating the case, said: "This conviction is the result of the heavy investment the Government have put into customs to help in the fight against the large scale smuggling of cigarettes and tobacco. Since this detection at the beginning of last year a network of mobile scanners around the country has helped in the seizure of many millions of cigarettes as well as significant quantities of drugs and tobacco."

Nearly 6 million cigarettes were found at Felixstowe using the scanner.

The cigarettes arrived in Felixstowe on 28 January 2001 in a container manifested as containing personal effects from Tenerife. The container was scanned and sent for further examination. Apart from a few empty boxes near the doors the rest of the load comprised master cartons of five different brands of cigarettes. 

Lovell, was arrested in Wells, Somerset in July after he had returned to the UK. He had been in the UK during the time of the importation making arrangements regarding the importation.

 

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