A man from County Louth in the Republic of Ireland, who was caught delivering more than one million counterfeit cigarettes to a car park in Belfast, has been jailed for 12 months for excise duty fraud.

Patrick Corrigan from Drumiskin, was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers after the van he was driving was stopped by police on the A1 in July 2012. The van and 1.1 million cigarettes, worth an estimated £280,649 in evaded excise duty and VAT, were seized.

Corrigan was arrested again in November 2012, while attempting to smuggle 100,000 cigarettes from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland hidden in the back of a van.

John Whiting, assistant director, criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “Corrigan received cash in hand for collecting a van full of cigarettes from Jonesborough, which he planned to leave at a shopping centre car park in Belfast. He was then caught a second time.

“Tobacco smuggling is organised crime on a global scale. It encourages and supports criminality within our communities, robbing taxpayers of millions each year in unpaid duty and VAT. Anyone with information about the storage or sale of illegal tobacco should contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”