May 23 2013 Latest news:
Lee-Ann Richards, Senior reporter
Thursday, January 10, 2013
A Havering man who was part of a gang that described more than 20million smuggled cigarettes as baby’s toys on shipping documents is on a list of the top tax criminals of 2012.
Martin Cleland, 45, from Osborne Road, Hornchurch, is one of 32 people named by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as last year’s most prolific tax dodgers.
Cleland was one of seven men arrested after some of them were seen unloading millions of illicit cigarettes at a warehouse in Upminster.
The haul had been smuggled into the UK from Dubai through the port of Felixstowe.
The total duty evaded was estimated at £3.3million.
When Cleland’s home was searched, officers found £29,000 in cash in £1,000 bundles in a safe in his garage.
The gang were all charged with conspiracy to evade excise duty chargeable on the importation of cigarettes contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Cleland was found guilty and jailed for four-and-a-half years at Ipswich Crown Court in February last year.