Travel ban for tobacco smuggler

By Beth Sharp Thursday 24 July 2014 Updated: 01/08 00:28

A BROMSGROVE woman has been banned from travelling abroad for trying to smuggle two suitcases worth of tobacco into the country.

Lizbeth Carole Rees-Jones, of Watts Close, pleaded guilty to evading more than £4,500 worth of duty at Birmingham Airport on August 22, 2013.

The 57-year-old appeared at Redditch Magistrates’ Court for attempting to smuggle in 27kilos of hand-rolling tobacco from Barcelona.

Rees-Jones was stopped by the UK Border Force officers after arriving back in the UK before she was arrested and interviewed by officers from HM Revenue and Customs.

The court heard how Rees-Jones was a repeat offender and had been stopped previously at Bristol Airport, in April, 2009, when 14kilos of tobacco were seized and at Liverpool Airport in October 2010, where 15kilos were seized.

It was also stated how Rees-Jones, who suffered from depression and osteoporosis which caused her a lot of her pain and discomfort, had been having money problems and had planned to sell the tobacco at a profit to help clear her outstanding debts.

Rees-Jones, originally from Aberystwyth, was sentenced to a 12-month supervised community order and was told she would be subject to a electronic curfew between 7am and 7pm for six months.

The former cruise ship singer, who is currently unemployed, was also banned from travelling abroad for 12 months and was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

Colin Booker, HMRC assistant director for criminal investigation, HMRC said: “Rees-Jones was stopped not once, but three times attempting to bring non duty-paid tobacco into the UK. HMRC will not hesitate to investigate those who try to profit from defrauding honest taxpayers and businesses by providing an unregulated supply of smuggled tobacco.”

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