Pensioner guilty of selling illegal booze and fags

PUBLISHED: 13:55 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 11:18 31 August 2013

A 71-YEAR-OLD man supplemented his pension by selling illegally imported alcohol and cigarettes from the back of his car at Hatfield market. Charles White was arrested by Customs and Excise officers at the market on December 15 last year, St Albans Crown

A 71-YEAR-OLD man supplemented his pension by selling illegally imported alcohol and cigarettes from the back of his car at Hatfield market.

Charles White was arrested by Customs and Excise officers at the market on December 15 last year, St Albans Crown Court heard today (Friday).

When they went to his home they found more of his stock in his garage and loft.

In all they recovered 139 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, 88,000 cigarettes, 45 litres of vodka and 45 litres of wine, said prosecutor Serana Gates.

The total amount of excise duty evaded came to £30,290, she said.

When questioned White said he had built up his goods from people who had been abroad. He said he had been trading for six to 12 months.

White pleaded guilty to evading duty and harbouring goods that had not had duty paid. He was of previous good character.

Defence barrister Rebecca Smith said White had made full and frank admissions to customs officers.

"Stupidly, he had seen an easy way to supplement his and his wife's pension," she said.

Miss Smith said White was the sole carer for his wife who suffered from severe arthritis.

Judge Martin Griffith adjourned a confiscation hearing until August 1.

At that hearing a judge will decide how much money White will have to hand over.

The judge told him: "This will cost you a large amount of money. You have landed yourself in great difficulties.

"These are serious offences because the Government loses the duty it charges on goods."

He passed a four-month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered White, of Brandon Close, Cheshunt, to complete 100 hours unpaid work.


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