A SMUGGLER who modified a camper van to bring 161 kilos of tobacco into Portsmouth has been jailed.
Lithuanian carpenter, Raimundas Duoba, 39, had built several hiding places for the tobacco inside the van.
This included a false ceiling, a fake floor in the boot and the bottom of the bed.
Duoba was found hiding £39,000 worth of tobacco in the van when it was searched at Portsmouth Ferry Port on June 21, last year, after arriving from Bilbao, Spain.
He was sent to prison for 16 months after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.
His female accomplice Giedre Giliene, 34, received an eight-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and a 12 month supervision order.
John Cooper, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: ‘This was a calculated and blatant smuggling attempt, which, if successful, would have robbed the UK of vital funds.
‘Our investigations revealed that Duoba had recently purchased the camper van, adapting it to hide enough tobacco to make over 300,000 cigarettes.’
Evidence uncovered during the investigation also led to Duoba being charged and sentenced for a second offence, after officers discovered the tobacco was to be kept at a self-storage unit in Essex rented by ‘Tomas Basiulis’ – one of his aliases.
The name was already linked to a separate smuggling attempt at Dover, when officers found 84,100 cigarettes hidden inside a Lithuanian lorry.
At Portsmouth Crown Court Duoba was remanded in custody after admitting using the name and pleading guilty to both smuggling attempts at Portsmouth and Dover.