A smuggler who could have flooded west Wales with contraband cigarettes has been jailed for two years.
Ramji Kanth, a company director of IT firm UC Solutions Ltd, illegally imported 4.4 million cigarettes.
He was arrested at his office in Slough after freight documentation revealed his involvement in the crime. The revenue loss is estimated at almost £1m.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers seized the cigarettes from a storage unit on the Glan-Yr-Afon industrial estate, Aberystwyth, in 2012. The load, described in documentation as computer parts, had been shipped from Singapore to the Port of Southampton.
On arrival at the industrial estate, officers opened the container and discovered 440 boxes of Vess cigarettes, a brand not sold legally in the UK.
Colin Booker, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “This importation would have flooded west Wales with an unregulated supply of cigarettes. They would have proved popular with people looking for a cheap smoke, including underage children – smugglers have no reservations about profiting from the young and vulnerable.
“HMRC is increasing its efforts to stamp out the illicit tobacco trade. We do this to protect UK revenues and honest businesses. Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”