A man from Wigan has claimed that he was forced into smuggling by Gangsters on Tenerife. The 20 year old man, who was caught smuggling 60 000 cigarettes into the UK, said that he was pressurised by the criminal underworld on Tenerife in to acting as a mule, after borrowing money he couldn’t repay.
Wigan magistrates were told that he was first caught with 15000 cigarettes in December 2010 at Newcastle airport. He was caught again two weeks later repeating the same offence with another 15000 cigarettes and then at Manchester airport with 17500 cigarettes in April 2011. On these three occasions he was issued with a caution.
He was caught again with 16 000 at Exeter airport in May 2011 and tried to convince officers that he was a heavy smoker, but eventually admitted to planning to sell them on. The cost in lost taxes for the 3 offence was in the order of £13000. The maximum cigarette allowance from Tenerife is 200.
The man moved to Tenerife in 2009 and worked in bars but lost his job due to bad health and ran into financial trouble, this led to him borrowing the money he couldn’t pay back.
He was given a 12 week jail sentence suspended for 12 months.