Peter Robinson, 70, and his son, Adam, both of Rossendale, were jailed in June 2015 after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators linked them to 109 illegal postal imports of cigarettes and tobacco.
Zoe Ellerbeck, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“We are determined to recover stolen tax from criminals who deprive the UK of vital funds.
HMRC has disrupted a criminal network that thought they were above the law – they were wrong, and today’s confiscation order shows that we don’t stop once someone has been jailed, our actions continue until we have deprived them of their criminal profits.
“Anyone with information about the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes and tobacco should contact our Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
The investigation found that the Robinsons and an accomplice had been involved in a major smuggling scam, sending illicit tobacco goods by parcel post from Spain, Poland, Luxemburg, Germany and Belgium to addresses in the north of England, to evade UK taxes.
The pair were caught at UK Customs controls in Coquelles, France, in 2011. Paperwork for 26 parcels was discovered hidden in the roof lining of their car. When the parcels of tobacco and cigarettes were intercepted in the UK post, forensic evidence linked them all to the Robinsons. The HMRC investigation found more than 109 parcels had been sent by the gang between 2009 and 2011.
Before their trial could begin, the Robinsons left the UK for Spain. Warrants were issued for their arrest and they were extradited to the UK in 2014 to face charges of conspiracy to smuggle and the illegal importation of tobacco products on which UK duty had not been paid. In June 2015, the father and son were jailed for 30 months each and confiscation proceedings focused on the family assets. If Peter Robinson does not pay the confiscation order he will have to serve additional time in jail.