A 74-year-old man ran a “little business” selling duty-free cigarettes and alcohol on the black market from the back of a van, it has been alleged.

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William Walker made 22 trips to Europe in a year to stock up on duty free tobacco, cigaretts and alcohol which he then allegedly sold on for a profit, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Walker, of Beetons Way, Bury St Edmunds has denied two charges of dealing with goods which were chargeable with a duty with fraudulent intent between October 2010 and October 2011 and a charge of converting criminal property.

Nicola Devas, prosecuting alleged that Walker made 125 trips from Dover to Calais over a five-year period and allegedly avoided paying duty of more than £75,000.

She told the court that alcohol and cigarettes were only duty-free if they were for personal use and alleged that Walker had sold duty-free goods without paying the tax that should have been paid on them.

The alleged offences came to light on October 18 2011 when a police community support officer on foot patrol saw Walker’s van parked in a restricted area outside a bar in St Andrew’s Street, Bury St Edmunds.

When the officer asked to look in the rear of the van she saw packets of tobacco and cigarettes, some cases of beer and vegetables, said Miss Devas. When his home was searched officers found £60,000 in cash and a quantity of cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol were found in the boot of his Jaguar.

After his arrest Walker claimed the goods found in his van and car were for his own use and for family members.

The trial continues today (Tuesday)

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