Four Polish men who attempted to smuggle nearly two million cigarettes into the UK hidden in furniture boxes have been jailed.

The men were arrested in September 2013 after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raided a warehouse on an industrial site in Selby, North Yorkshire. Officers found 24 pallets of flat-pack furniture boxes containing 1.96 million illegal cigarettes, worth an estimated £437,000 in lost taxes.

Marcin Muraczewski was jailed for two and a half years, Piotr Wicko for two years and two months, Leczek Antonio Liczner for three years, and Michal Wicko for one year three months.

Jo Tyler, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “These men were attempting to flood the UK with illegal cigarettes solely for their own financial gain. We will not stop in our pursuit of those involved in this type of criminal activity and bring them before the courts.

“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. We would urge anyone with information about people dealing in illicit cigarettes or tobacco to contact us on 0800 595000.”