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Ex-police officer Kenneth Pritchard tried to smuggle tobacco into UK
A FORMER police officer attempted to smuggle 85kg of tobacco into the UK through a port in Hampshire.
Kenneth Pritchard hid the hand-rolling tobacco in suitcases, boxes and a wicker laundry basket when entering the county on June 11.
But the 64-year-old was arrested at Portsmouth Ferry Port by Border Force officers, who found the items inside his Land Rover.
The former police officer had retired to Spain, and was trying to enter the UK to sell the tobacco from Cherbourg in France.
Detectives believe the tobacco was destined for the Macclesfield area of Cheshire.
At an appearance at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court, Pritchard was sentenced for fraudulently evading £17,500 in excise duty.
He was sentenced to eight weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, while his Land Rover was seized and will be sold at auction.
John Cooper, assistant director of criminal investigation at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which took over the investigation, 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 £2billion a year.
“People with information about such criminal activity should contact the Customs' Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
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