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Beer smuggler jailed

A lorry driver who smuggled over £130,000 worth of beer into the UK from France has been jailed.

Simon O’Hare (pictured) has been jailed on three counts of, “being knowingly concerned in carrying, removing, depositing, harbouring, keeping or concealing or in any manner dealing with goods chargeable with a duty which had not been paid, with intent to defraud Her Majesty of the duty under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979,” for a total of two years.

He was sentenced in Manchester, where the Crown Court heard that he had smuggled around £131,000 worth of beer into the UK and tried to evade detection by altering registration numbers and marking on his vehicles.

According to the Lancashire Evening Post, O’Hare would drive over to France with an empty lorry and return with pallets of beer and paperwork showing they were bound for a bonded warehouse in Essex.

However, en route, O’Hare would drive instead to retailers around the UK. Incredibly, he was stopped no fewer than four separate times by police before he was stopped.

The first stop was at a cash and carry store in Abbey Road, London, on 29 February, he was then stopped again on 6 March in Wakefield, North Yorkshire and again on 22 March in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and finally on 20 June in Charlton, London.

John Pointing, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “O’Hare lied about where the beer came from and the associated false paperwork each time he was caught, but continued to smuggle, despite warnings he could be prosecuted.

“Selling smuggled alcohol at knock-down prices gives criminals an unfair profit and threatens the livelihoods of honest retailers.”


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