A Lancashire man caught smuggling cigarettes and tobacco into the UK has been ordered to pay back £240,000, of which £90,000 must be paid within three months, or he will face a further 18 months in jail.
Peter Robinson and his son, Adam, both of Rossendale, were jailed in June 2015 after HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) investigators linked them to 109 illegal postal imports of cigarettes and tobacco.
Zoe Ellerbeck, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “We are determined to recover stolen tax from criminals who deprive the UK of vital funds. HMRC has disrupted a criminal network that thought they were above the law – they were wrong, and today’s confiscation order shows that we don’t stop once someone has been jailed, our actions continue until we have deprived them of their criminal profits.”
The investigation found that the Robinsons and an accomplice had been involved in a major smuggling scam, sending illicit tobacco goods by parcel post from Spain, Poland, Luxemburg, Germany and Belgium to addresses in the north of England, to evade UK taxes.
The pair were caught at UK Customs controls in Coquelles, France, in 2011. HMRC found that more than 109 parcels had been sent by the gang between 2009 and 2011.
Last summer the two men were jailed for 30 months each and confiscation proceedings then focused on the family assets. If Peter Robinson does not pay the confiscation order he will have to serve the additional time in jail.