Essex: Stena Line worker and his wife sentenced for cigarette smuggling at Harwich International Port

A HUSBAND and wife who made thousands of pounds by smuggling cigarettes into a Harwich port and selling them from their Essex home have been spared immediate jail.

Adam Fisher, 38, a crew member with Stena Line, and Samantha Fisher, 40, a cleaner, who live together in Great Oakley were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.

Ferry worker Fisher, who was caught smuggling tax free tobacco and cigarettes into the UK, has received a 13 month jail sentence suspended for two years and will have to complete 200 hours community work.

His wife who helped him sell on the cigarettes from their Essex home was sentenced to 10 months in prison suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.

In sentencing Judge Devaux said: “That the financial gain was clear, you had no financial difficulties other than greed and abused your position on the ferry. Admitting fraud shows how dishonest you both are. I could send you both to prison at once as a deterrent to others.”

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John Kay, assistant director of investigation at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), said: “This was organised smuggling by a man who used and abused his position of trust as Bosun on a ferry.

“His wife would then sell the smuggled cigarettes from their home. Anyone buying cigarettes or tobacco from an illegal source is supporting criminals to maintain their lifestyle and at the same time depriving the public purse of much needed funds.”

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Officers from the UK Border Agency intercepted Fisher carrying over 6,000 cigarettes concealed in a plastic holdall as he left the ferry after it docked at Harwich International Port on February 20 2009.

Further investigations by HMRC discovered that Fisher had been buying tax free cigarettes well in excess of his weekly personal entitlement.

Essex Police searched the Fisher’s home and discovered over �16,000 in cash and a silver exercise book which listed details of the couple’s transactions in ‘fags’ and monthly profits.

A small quantity of tobacco and a tick list of tobacco products and prices was also found.

Adam Fisher was charged with duty evasion and along with his wife Samantha was charged on two counts of money laundering. Samantha was also charged with a further count of money laundering.

Anyone with information about this type of crime can contact a 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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