Illegal Tobacco keep it out

Father and son team ‘lose everything’ after selling illegal tobacco

A father and son team from Sunderland has been sentenced after selling illegal tobacco and alcohol from their city centre store.

A father and son team from Sunderland has been sentenced after selling illegal tobacco and alcohol from their city centre store.

63-year-old Ronald Ledger and his son Duncan, 43 were caught by HM Revenue & Customs officers after they noticed unusual packages being delivered to the shop in Worcester Street, Sunderland.

The investigation revealed that the pair had been selling smuggled cigarettes and tobacco, and counterfeit booze from under the counter.

HMRC recovered 10 litres of fake ‘Glens Vodka’, 62,140 cigarettes and more than 27kg of hand-rolling tobacco, amounting to a duty tax and VAT evasion to the tune of £22,874.99.

As community retailers, they narrowly escaped jail terms due to previous good character, but were both given 16-week sentences, suspended for 12-months and ordered to pay £5,000 each in compensation as well as £250 towards court costs.

Duncan Ledger was also ordered to complete 100-hours unpaid work and his father received a three-month electronically tagged curfew from 9pm to 7am.

Gerry Armstrong, for Ronald Ledger, who lived above the shop, said he had “lost everything”.

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