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Cigarette smuggling scam is stubbed out

A gang of cigarette smugglers have been jailed after bringing almost 200,000 illegal cigarettes through Newcastle Airport.

The gang recruited couriers and paid to jet them over to popular resorts and return with suitcases packed with duty-free tobacco.

Couriers, which included a mother and daughter, were promised a night in a sunshine resort and £100 cash-in-hand if the cigarette run was a success.

John Houston, head of HM Revenue & Customs regional investigation team, said: “We are determined to see an end to North East smuggling gangs who abuse the system to make a hefty profit at the expense of the taxpayer, legitimate business and honest retailers.

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