Smugglers escape jail sentence
Two smugglers from Weston who were caught with more than £78,000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes have walked away from court with suspended prison sentences. Anthony Fear and Philip Dight were transporting 400,000 fake Super King cigarettes to Plymouth, w
Two smugglers from Weston who were caught with more than £78,000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes have walked away from court with suspended prison sentences.Anthony Fear and Philip Dight were transporting 400,000 fake Super King cigarettes to Plymouth, when they were stopped by police at Lympsham.Fear, of Greenhill Close, Weston, said to officers "I know you've got me banged to rights with a van full of stuff."The 53-year-old, together with old school friend Dight, aged 52 years, of Coleridge Road, Weston, admitted one charge of being concerned with carrying goods without paying duty with intent to defraud.They were both given five-month prison sentences suspended for 18 months when they appeared in the dock at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday (Nov 21).Dight was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community and Fear ordered to attend a Think First programme in Weston.Ryan Richter, representing HM Revenue and Customs, told how the pair were brought to book after being stopped by a police surveillance team on Friday, July 7.He said officers followed a Ford Transit minibus, driven by Fear, to Jeff Brown's BP Garage in Lympsham.Stowed in the back were 299,200 counterfeit Super King cigarettes, 900 mixed brand cigarettes and some tobacco.Dight was stopped in his Citroen car which held a further 100,000 counterfeit Super Kings.Mr Richter added: "He said he had travelled to Ashford in Kent to collect the cigarettes for a friend and was to deliver them to Plymouth and would be paid £70 for the day."He said the cigarettes were counterfeit and altogether amounted to a £78,556 evasion of revenue.It was heard how Fear had described himself as the "leader" of the duo.David Martin, defending both men, said Fear felt guilty about involving his friend in the smuggling. Sentencing them, Judge David Ticehurst said: "You have defrauded duty on cigarettes to the value of £78,000. "Because of your greed that money was lost to HM Revenue and Customs." The defendants will return to the court for a confiscation hearing on a date to be fixed after May 21 next year.