Serial tobacco smuggler who used Stansted Airport evaded almost £25,000 in excise duty and VAT

PUBLISHED: 23:50 23 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:45 26 June 2017

Stansted Airport. Picture: MAG

Stansted Airport. Picture: MAG

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Lavinia Akyurt, 42, of Hartlepool at the time of the offences, now of Southsea, Hampshire, smuggled cigarettes and tobacco into the UK through London Stansted, Durham Tees Valley, and Gatwick airports.

She was arrested in September 2016 at Gatwick Airport. An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found that between January 2015 and September 2016, she smuggled tobacco on four occasions and organised two smuggling attempts by family members.

Akyurt evaded £23,549 in excise duty and VAT. She pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.

She was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Lewes Crown Court on June 21.

Christopher Gill, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Lavinia Akyurt thought it was acceptable to undercut hardworking local shopkeepers by smuggling tobacco. HMRC officers have now put a stop to this illegal smuggling scheme.

“We encourage anyone with information about the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco to contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.”

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