Retired police officer pleads guilty to tobacco smuggling

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A FORMER police officer has been sentenced in court for evading £17,500 in excise duty after smuggling 85kg of hand-rolling tobacco into Portsmouth Ferry Port.

Kenneth Pritchard, 64, hid the tobacco in suitcases, boxes, and a wicker laundry basket inside a Land Rover. Discovery

He was arrested by Border Force officers at the continental ferry port in June this 

Pritchard pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to the fraudulent evasion of excise 

He was immediately sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

John Cooper, the assistant director of criminal investigation at HM Revenue and Customs, said: ‘Pritchard, a former crime-fighter, now has a criminal record of his own.

‘This type of criminality not only undermines legitimate retailers who have to compete with illegal imports, but also costs the UK economy around £2bn a year.

‘People with information about such criminal activity should contact the customs hotline on 0800 595 000.’

Pritchard’s Land Rover has been seized by HM Revenue and Customs and will now be sold at auction.