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BA crew member penalised for smuggling tobacco

world Updated: Dec 27, 2010 13:39 IST

A British Airways' cabin crew member has received a 120-hour community punishment order after using his position to illegally import tobacco into the UK through Heathrow Airport.

The potential revenue loss on the smuggled tobacco is estimated at around 18,000 pounds.

Christakis Lambrou, a British national, was stopped by UK Border Agency officers on August 15 2009, as he waited to board a flight to Geneva.

Officers examined Lambrou's hand luggage and discovered 2,000 Benson and Hedges Silver cigarettes.

Lambrou had also purchased 6 kg of hand rolling tobacco from a duty-free shop on the same day.

Officers found this tobacco in the boot of his car, along with another 2,000 cigarettes.

Lambrou was arrested, interviewed and subsequently charged.

When arrested, he claimed to have bought the tobacco over the previous 2 to 3 months for his brother and his brother's friend.

A further 11,760 cigarettes and 5kg of hand-rolling tobacco were found at Lambrou's house in Staines.

Lambrou was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 20 August 2010 for fraudulently evading duty on 74,440 smuggled cigarettes and 12kg of hand-rolling tobacco.

He had pleaded guilty on 9 July 2010.

John Cooper, Revenue and Customs assistant director for criminal investigation, said: "Lambrou abused his position of trust as a cabin crew manager to evade UK duty.

Lambrou's actions cost the UK vital tax revenue, and this is why revenue and Customs works closely with UK Border Agency officers to disrupt this kind of criminal operation".