BREAKING: Charges in connection to alleged £2m tobacco fraud

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A MAN from Beesby, near Alford, is one of ten people from across the UK who have been charged with offences relating to multi-million pound tobacco tax fraud.

Mark Croney, 49, of Pinfold Lane, Beesby, has been charged with Cheating the Public Revenue Contrary to Common Law.

He is due to appear at Slough Magistrates Court on April 30.

Boston man Arthur Rhodes, 73, of Forest Dale has also been charged with being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of Excise Duty.

He is due to appear at Skegness Magistrates Court on April 17 April

They, and eight others, are accused of the evasion of over £2million duty on 12 million cigarettes and 465 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco.

The 10 men, who are all UK Nationals, were charged last week and released on bail. The other accused come from High Wycombe (2), Sheffield, Reading, London, Middlesex, Berkshire and Walsall, and will appear before magistrates at dates during April.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) spokesman Bob Gaiger said: “Tobacco smuggling costs the UK economy around £2billion a year, money that is needed to fund vital public services.

“Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gov.uk.”

HM Revenue & Customs officers arrested four of the men in April 2011 following the seizure of 10 million cigarettes, approximately £14,000 in cash, an unlicensed shot gun and a number of motor vehicles, during raids in North Hampshire and Berkshire.

Enquiries by HMRC investigators led to six further arrests and additional seizures of tobacco and cash.