Three Islington brothers jailed after haul of nearly a million black market cigarettes are found

16:17 14 August 2012

...

...

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Three brothers caught with a haul of nearly a million black market cigarettes were jailed for a total of 44 months on Monday.

Market traders Cliff and Roy Collins – and their brother Francis – all from Danbury Street, Islington, bought the foreign and counterfeit tobacco to sell on to unsuspecting punters in London pubs.

They were put under surveillance after customs officials noticed them making regular trips to the family lock-up in Borough. They were caught red-handed last October and a search later revealed an inventory running to 887,000 cigarettes.

These included packets of Benson and Hedges illegally imported from the Middle East and counterfeit cigarettes in cartons bearing the Spanish Palace brand.

None of the £176,440 duty due to HM Revenue and Customs had been paid, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Neil King accepted the brothers did not know some of the cigarettes were fakes, but said: “Once you dabble in the black market, you end up with black goods. There were no health checks. They could have been anything, frankly.”

Tony Wyatt, defending Cliff and Roy Collins, said they succumbed to temptation as they saw the profits from their market stalls tumble.They now accept this was “very foolish and stupid.”

Mark Bagshawe, for Francis Collins, urged the judge to impose a lesser sentence because of his client’s eye condition, which renders him partially-sighted.

Judge Joanna Korner QC, told the brothers: “Fraud on the revenue is not, as it is sometimes thought, a victimless offence. That is why the courts treat it so seriously.”

The trio admitted conspiring to fraudulently evade customs tariffs. Cliff Collins, 53, and Roy Collins, 47, were handed 16-month sentences, while Francis Collins, 41, was jailed for a year.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Alan Cartwright

The teenager stabbed to death while riding his bike in Islington last night has been named as 15-year-old Alan Cartwright.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death on Caledonian Road Pic: Google

Teen managed to carry on riding before collapsing - murder investigation launched

Friday, February 27, 2015
A teenager was stabbed near the Emirates minutes before Arsenal's Champions League game

Knife attack - just prior to Champions League game - fifth in borough this month

Friday, February 27, 2015
CCTV footage shows when the driver loses control of the black Honda car in Hampton Road

This jaw-dropping footage shows the moment a speeding driver smashes his Honda into five parked cars in a quiet residential street before fleeing.

Friday, February 27, 2015
The theft is all over in the blink of an eye (Picture: City of London Police)

A video of a lightning fast phone robbery by a thief riding a bike along a City street has been released by police who want to raise awareness of this growing crime.

Friday, February 27, 2015
The quiet lane [Photograph by David Peat]

Emergency services have rushed to a street in Walthamstow after a man was stabbed this morning.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The political editor will be taking time off for treatment.

Read more

It involves a picture of a hand. You can guess what shape it is making.

Read more

About 40 swans have died in the last year and local vet says she has never seen anything like this in her 30 years in practice.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

The political editor will be taking time off for treatment.

It involves a picture of a hand. You can guess what shape it is making.

About 40 swans have died in the last year and local vet says she has never seen anything like this in her 30 years in practice.

Quirky London