An Acton man who used a specially-adapted coat in a bid to smuggle cigarettes into the country has been jailed for nine months.
Jabbar Sattar, 63, of Stanley Road, was sentenced at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday (July 20) after pleading guilty to four counts of tobacco smuggling under the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979, according to Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
It followed his arrest at Stansted Airport when he arrived on a flight from Marrakesh, Morocco, on April 16, and an investigation by HMRC.
HMRC said officers from Border Force found 6,400 Marlboro Gold cigarettes in Sattar’s luggage and a further 800 cigarettes hidden inside his coat.
He had attempted to create a crude secret compartment by cutting the lining and using safety pins to hold the goods in place, a spokesman added.
Paul Barton, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “Sattar thought he was clever - that by designing a concealed pocket in his clothing he could avoid being caught.
“He ignored previous official warnings, believing his actions as a serial tobacco smuggler would have no serious impact. He was wrong and will now have to deal with the consequences of his criminal activity.
“We work closely with our colleagues at Border Force to disrupt and detect smugglers and will always look to take action that fits the crime.”
HMRC said Sattar was stopped on three previous occasions at UK airports. On January 13 he tried to bring 4,200 cigarettes into Gatwick and, a month earlier, on December 5 2014, he was stopped at Luton Airport with 9,000 cigarettes.
He also attempt to smuggle 5,600 cigarettes into the country December 17 2011 via Gatwick.
All the cigarettes were seized and Sattar was charged with all four offences. The total revenue loss is around £7,000.
Anyone with information on suspected tobacco smuggling is encouraged to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.