Caught red-handed: Harold Hill lorry driver smuggling 24,000 litres of beer
- Credit: Archant
A retired lorry driver who smuggled 24,000 litres of beer into the UK has been spared jail today.
Brian Gutteridge, 66, of Briar Road, Harold Hill drove a trailer filled with illegal booze from Calais, France, into the country.
The 25 pallets of alcohol were snuck past customs officers to cheat the government out of around £35,000 worth of excise duty and VAT.
Gutteridge was caught red-handed as he was unloading the lorry at a warehouse in Tilbury, Essex.
He pleaded guilty to fraudulent evasion of duty on the first day of his trial at the Old Bailey.
You may also want to watch:
The judge, Mr Recorder Levett, said: “On August 22, 2012, you carried out some work as a lorry driver which required you to go to Calais and return back, swapping a trailer at Tilbury and then delivering goods which were subject to duty in the region of £35,000.
“The authorities intercepted this by apprehending everyone when they were unloading the lorry at Best Price Cash and Carry.
- 1 Liverpool Street to Shenfield line suspended as person hit by train
- 2 East London police officer charged with rape
- 3 Brentwood deaths: Teen charged with double murder to appear in court
- 4 Upminster chef named best in the country with award
- 5 'Important' ATMs removed from Romford shopping mall
- 6 ATMs to be reinstalled in shopping mall in 'more prominent location'
- 7 Brentwood Halloween event cancelled following tragic deaths
- 8 End 8am scramble to secure GP appointments, watchdog warns
- 9 Romford man gets community order for causing pensioner's crash death
- 10 Covid-19 cases surge in Havering, latest figures reveal
“The offence was fraudulent at the outset - the delivery address was texted to you on the boat coming back from Calais.”
The illegal goods were all recovered by the authorities and there was no actual loss to the government.
Gutteridge, who suffers from a number of health problems including diabetes and arthritis, was jailed for 18 months in 1998 for smuggling tobacco into the UK.
He was stopped two months before the August scam with smuggled goods and let off with a warning.
Gutteridge was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for two years and banned from holding a driving licence for six months.
He pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of duty chargeable on goods, namely a consignment of alcoholic beverages, on August 22, 2012.