A MAN from Runcorn has been sent to prison for smuggling tobacco and cigarettes, evading £73,000 of duty.

Dana Kadir, 42, had more than 112kg of tobacco and 68,300 cigarettes hidden in two vans parked outside his former home in Oldham in September 2016.

The discovery came about after an uninsured car, traced back to Kadir, was pulled over for speeding on the M5 in May 2016.

Officers found more than 147kg of illegal tobacco worth £30,000 on the back seat.

Araz Rasul, 38, from Gloucester was a passenger in the car at the time.

Fingerprints of Soleman Hossein, 36, from Rochdale, were found inside both vans and forensic examination of the tobacco discovered in the car also revealed the fingerprints of Kheder Howkar Hasan, 31, from Gloucester.

Rasul and Hasan pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court on November 29 2018, while Kadir and Hossein were found guilty after trial.

They were sentenced on 3 April, 2019.

Rasul received one year in jail for dealing with goods with fraudulent intent.

Hasan was handed 200 hours of unpaid work and paid costs of £800 for the same charge.

Kadir and Hossein will both serve 14 months in jail for fraudulently evading duty.

Tracey Noon, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “These men contrived to evade paying duty which is money needed to fund public services.

“Cheating the system undercuts legitimate tobacco traders who play by the rules, and I urge anyone with information about tax fraud to report it to HMRC.”