A Peckham restaurant worker has been jailed for sixteen months for smuggling more than 130,000 illicit cigarettes from China to the UK.
Mr Changhui Yu from Latona Road was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators on August 16 last year.
He was caught red handed whilst collecting parcels containing tobacco from a mailbox in New Cross – one of eight which he rented under phoney names for delivery of the tobacco.
Yu, aged 50, appeared at Croydon Crown Court for sentencing on April 6, having pleaded guilty.
The court heard that Yu ignored a previous warning from HMRC and continued to run his criminal operation.
Officers seized 130,240 cigarettes from Yu’s mailboxes between November 2014 and September 2016, worth £22,074 in excise duty.
At his home in Peckham, investigators discovered packaging and labels linked to a further 40 deliveries, worth a further £10,147 in unpaid duty.
Her Honour, Judge Elizabeth Smaller, handed Yu the sixteen month sentence for the charge of fraudulent evasion of tobacco duty.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “Yu ignored warnings from HMRC and wrongly assumed using false identities to conduct his illegal operation would protect him. We will continue to pursue criminals involved in the sale of illicit tobacco.”
“We encourage anyone with information regarding this type of fraud to contact the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”