Own goal for illegal tobacco trio

A trio of tobacco fraudsters have been handed suspended prison sentences after they were caught with more than 198,000 illegal cigarettes at a football ground in the Black Country.

David Mills, 49, from Wolverhampton, along with Demetris Aristidou, 57, and Prodomus Prodromou, 56, both of Eccles, Norwich, were caught red-handed by HM Revenue and Customs.

The men were caught with 198,400 Gold Mount Cigarettes and £17,000 in a plastic bag in the grounds of Wednesfield Football Club.They were arrested at the Cottage Ground, in Amos Lane, after they tried to flee as HMRC investigators approached them.

The cigarettes, worth £67,000 in unpaid duty, were found hidden under packets of toilet rolls in a van driven by Aristidou. During a search of the car park, officers also found a carrier bag containing £17,000 in cash, hidden in a rubbish bin in front of the clubhouse. The bag was covered in Mills’ fingerprints and both the cash and cigarettes were seized.

Mills pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty in March, 2018. Aristidou and Prodromou were found guilty of the same offence after trial at Leicester Crown Court last month. They were all sentenced at the same court on 14 May, 2019.

Aristidou and Prodromou were both jailed for six six-and-a-half months, suspended for two years. Both men were also ordered to pay £750 costs and to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Mills was handed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work. 

Anybody who knows of anyone committing any type of tax fraud can call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887. Information about any type of tax fraud can also be reported to HMRC online at gov.uk.


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