No5 barristers in £2m duty evasion case

Three men have been jailed for more than eight years for evading duty smuggled cigarettes, in which Daniel Oscroft prosecutes.

Raymond Preece, Gerard Smythe and Steven Zindani were arrested following two HMRC raids at industrial units in Birmingham and Redditch in June 2012 where they found the cigarettes disguised in dessert boxes.

Preece, 60, admitted to one count of evading duty and Smythe admitted to two counts in December.

Zindani was found guilty of two counts of the same charge by a jury earlier this month.

In sentencing the three men Her Honour Judge Stacey said: “This is not a victimless crime because the taxpayer and the government stood to be defrauded out of more than £2m in lost revenue.”

Smythe was sentenced to two years and five months in prison and Preece was sentenced to one year and eleven months.

All three men now face action under the Proceeds of Crime Act.