Jail for tobacco smuggling gang

Members of a Kent-based cigarette smuggling gang have been jailed for total of six-and-a-half years.

Christopher Osborne, 49, of Bromley, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for his part in an operation which evaded an estimated £18 million in excise duty, and traded some 78 million cigarettes, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

Osborne’s son, Jack, 23, was sentenced to one year.

The pair were caught at a lock-up in East London on May 3 last year over 2 million cigarettes and £79,980 in cash.

Over £200,000 was recovered from the Osborne family home at a later date by Sniff, a cash detection dog.

Andrew Pavlinic, HM Revenue & Customs assistant director for criminal investigation, said: “These criminals have lived a lifestyle funded by the proceeds of crime and we will work closely with our prosecutors to confiscate illegally-funded assets.

“Tobacco smugglers don’t care about undercutting honest retailers and tobacconists. All criminals care about is profit.”

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