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Cigarette smuggling fugitive jailed

13 November, 2013

A convicted cigarette smuggler who featured on a list of most wanted tax fugitives this summer has been found and jailed.

After being named on HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) most wanted list, Michael ‘Arthur’ Fearon, 21, from Newry, handed himself in to the authorities in Northern Ireland. He is now in HM Prison Magheraberry serving a sentence for tobacco fraud.

Fearon was arrested on 29 June 2010 and pleaded not guilty in March 2012 to a charge in connection with the suspected evasion of excise duty on nearly 8.4 million cigarettes – costing the UK over £1.6m in duty.

However, Fearon absconded during his trial on 19 September 2012. He was tried in his absence and found guilty and a warrant was issued for his arrest. On the 25 October 2013 he was sentenced to one year imprisonment and one year on licence.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said: “The vast majority of hardworking people pay their taxes, but it is absolutely unacceptable that a minority tries to cheat the Exchequer.”

Donald Toon, director of criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “Fearon thought he could go on the run to avoid facing justice – but he was wrong. We relentlessly pursue tax fugitives and ensure they face the consequences of their criminal activity, and after over a year on the run, Fearon has done the right thing.”

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