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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, has been found guilty today (12 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.

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