Man jailed over illegal cigarettes found in Aberystwyth

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A company director has been jailed for two years after illegally importing 4.4m cigarettes and intending to sell them in west Wales.

Customs officers seized 400 boxes of cigarettes from a storage unit on the Glan-Yr-Afon industrial estate in Aberystwyth in 2012.

Freight documentation led them to Ramji Kanth, 45, from Slough, who had used his IT business as a cover for the imports, Reading Crown Court heard.

The lost duty was estimated at £1m.

HM Revenue and Customs said the cigarettes were a brand not sold legally in the UK.

They had been shipped from Singapore to Southampton under the description of computer parts.

The court heard the business regularly traded overseas, providing Kanth with the opportunity to ship and store the cigarettes.

Colin Booker, assistant director for criminal investigation at HMRC, said: "This importation would have flooded west Wales with an unregulated supply of cigarettes.

"They would have proved popular with people looking for a cheap smoke, including underage children - smugglers have no reservations about profiting from the young and vulnerable."

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