A Cardiff shop owner who was caught with a quantity of illegal cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco and alcohol, has been sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court.
Alan Alias, 31, of Blackoak Road, was sentenced after he was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs. Alias’ shop and flats, in Clifton Street, were searched by Police and HMRC officers in February 2015.
Inside a locked bedroom of one of the flats, HMRC Officers found 26,873 cigarettes and 6.05 kg of hand rolling tobacco worth £9539.77 in unpaid excise duty and VAT.
Alias claimed that the tenant of the flat ‘Tony’ had just left minutes before Police officers arrived and that Alias was only in the flat because ‘Tony’ had invited him to dinner.
Alias said that he had never been inside that flat before and had no knowledge of the cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco found in the bedroom even though Alias’ fingerprints were found to be on a cigarette box and plastic bags inside the bedroom.
When officers searched Alias he was also found to be carrying £4,110 in cash, which was seized.
Two previous visits to Alias’ shop by HMRC Officers resulted in seizures of illegal cigarettes, hand rolling and shisha tobacco and alcohol, totalling £6,441.08 in unpaid excise duty and VAT.
Alias was convicted and sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on 9 May 2017 to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.