Smuggler caught in Dunstable

A cigarette smuggler who went on-the-run before being sentenced was caught in Dunstable and has been straight to jail.

Al Gui He, 38, from Charlton, south-east London, failed to appear in court in August, but was sentenced in his absence to four years, for his part in a scam where illegal cigarettes were found hidden in fish pumps, dummy camera boxes and toys.

However, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers found him in Dunstable. On 17 September 2018, Gui He appeared in court where he was ordered to begin his prison sentence.

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HMRC investigators discovered that Gui He and two others, one who is still on the run, imported illegal tobacco into the UK through Heathrow hidden in table tops destined for Chinese restaurants.

The trio used lock-ups at six storage facilities across London including Charlton, New Cross, Bermondsey, Eltham and Beckenham to store the illegal cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco (HRT), which were discovered hidden in fish pumps, dummy camera boxes and toys. The duty evaded on the tobacco was £475,000.