A Scottish driver has been sentenced after he was caught smuggling 900kg of illicit tobacco.
Ahsan Javed, 43, was given community service on Wednesday after evading more than £120,000 in excise duty.
Javed, of Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, was stopped in his white Mercedes Sprinter by police on the southbound carriageway of the M74 near Beattock, Dumfries and Galloway on July 13, 2017.
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Officers suspected the van was overweight, and when they looked inside, they found 50g pouches of hand-rolled tobacco, which had no markings of UK duty being paid.
HMRC officers were called to investigate and discovered 898 kilos of illicit tobacco inside 90 black bags.
Javed told the officers he was transporting the tobacco to Birmingham but was detained and charged with excise duty fraud, which he pled guilty to on August 28.
Today, at Lanark Sheriff Court, he was slapped with a community payback order of 200 hours of unpaid work.
Joe Hendry, assistant director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said: "People like Javed, who are involved in the supply and sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes, are depriving public services of vital funding and undermining legitimate traders.
"The tax lost is more than the average cost of a house in North Lanarkshire.
"These crimes affect us all and we ask anyone with information about suspected tax fraud to report it."
Chief Inspector Darren Faulds, from Police Scotland's Road Policing Unit, said: "We put considerable effort into deterring criminals from using the road network for their own illegal ends and detecting those who choose to do so.
"Highly visible and unmarked patrols are carried out every day, particularly on key motorway routes such as in this case.
"We are committed to working closely with partners from HMRC and Trading Standards to bring anyone found to be carrying illegal or fraudulent goods to justice."
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