Crown Prosecution Service
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Lorry driver found guilty of £2.4m excise duty fraud on counterfeit cigarettes

A man who was caught smuggling millions of counterfeit cigarettes into the UK has been convicted of evading more than £2.4 million in excise duty.

Timothy James Goodlad, 58, of Barnetby, Lincolnshire, was found guilty on Monday 12th September 2023 of fraudulent evasion of duty following a trial at Winchester Crown Court.

On 28 November 2019, a lorry driven by Goodlad was stopped by Border Force Officers at the Eurotunnel UK Control Zone in France.

The defendant handed over documents indicating that he was carrying 26 pallets of laminate wood which had been picked up in Belgium that morning from a supplier and was destined for a building supplies company in Scunthorpe.

However, when the Border Force Officers examined the lorry’s load it was found to be full of pallets containing counterfeit cigarettes in brown cardboard boxes.  In total there were 8,319,400 cigarettes.

It was calculated, that excise duty totalling £2,448,492 should have been paid.

The defendant was arrested and in a subsequent interview claimed he was unaware of what had been loaded into the vehicle and gave details of where he had travelled, stopped and collected the load from.

The evidence showed that Goodlad’s account in interview, of where the vehicle had stopped to collect its load, was inconsistent with the data recorded by the lorry’s tracking system. Prosecutors presented this to the court along with other evidence to prove Goodlad’s guilt to the jury.

Gurminder Sanghera, Legal Manager for the CPS, said: “Timothy Goodlad was caught smuggling millions of counterfeit cigarettes into the UK to fraudulently evade paying more than £2 million in excise duty.

“Evading taxation is not a victimless crime. By not paying excise duty, Goodlad has deprived the UK of crucial revenue which funds vital public services. Furthermore, the sale of counterfeit tobacco in the UK damages legitimate businesses and undermines public health.

“Following a thorough investigation by HMRC, the CPS was able to build a compelling case against Goodlad which resulted in his conviction.”

A HMRC spokesperson said: “We’re determined to stamp out tobacco fraud by working closely with our partners in the UK and internationally to bring those responsible to justice.

“Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in the sale, storage or smuggling of illicit tobacco can contact us online. Search ‘Report Fraud HMRC’ on GOV.UK and complete our online form.”

Photo of counterfeit cigarettes found in the lorry being driven by Timothy Goodlad. 

Notes to editors

  • Gurminder Sanghera is a legal manager for the CPS Serious Economic, Organised Crime and International Directorate.
  • Timothy James Goodlad [DOB: 13/09/64] was convicted of fraudulent evasion of duty on 12 September 2023 following a trial at Winchester Crown Court
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