Search

Three Islington brothers jailed after haul of nearly a million black market cigarettes are found

16:17 14 August 2012

...

...

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Three brothers caught with a haul of nearly a million black market cigarettes were jailed for a total of 44 months on Monday.

Market traders Cliff and Roy Collins – and their brother Francis – all from Danbury Street, Islington, bought the foreign and counterfeit tobacco to sell on to unsuspecting punters in London pubs.

They were put under surveillance after customs officials noticed them making regular trips to the family lock-up in Borough. They were caught red-handed last October and a search later revealed an inventory running to 887,000 cigarettes.

These included packets of Benson and Hedges illegally imported from the Middle East and counterfeit cigarettes in cartons bearing the Spanish Palace brand.

None of the £176,440 duty due to HM Revenue and Customs had been paid, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Neil King accepted the brothers did not know some of the cigarettes were fakes, but said: “Once you dabble in the black market, you end up with black goods. There were no health checks. They could have been anything, frankly.”

Tony Wyatt, defending Cliff and Roy Collins, said they succumbed to temptation as they saw the profits from their market stalls tumble.They now accept this was “very foolish and stupid.”

Mark Bagshawe, for Francis Collins, urged the judge to impose a lesser sentence because of his client’s eye condition, which renders him partially-sighted.

Judge Joanna Korner QC, told the brothers: “Fraud on the revenue is not, as it is sometimes thought, a victimless offence. That is why the courts treat it so seriously.”

The trio admitted conspiring to fraudulently evade customs tariffs. Cliff Collins, 53, and Roy Collins, 47, were handed 16-month sentences, while Francis Collins, 41, was jailed for a year.

Latest News Stories

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Zoe Ranson

A writer has spoken of her delight in being shortlisted for a prestigious new award which recognises the wide scope of unpublished novellas.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Clerkenwell has been subject to a dispersal order by Islington Police for 48 hours since Wednesday

Borough Police have placed Clerkenwell on a 48 hour lockdown using a Dispersal Order.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Cllr James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing

Council warn that new build programme could suffer from goverment extension of the Right to Buy scheme

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Cllr Caroline Russell with Vicky Wilson in her meadow

Weed killer used by council ‘may be linked to cancer’

Most read news

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder