A Co Armagh farmer has been sentenced for tobacco fraud.
Bernard Martin McShane, 48 and from Forest Road, Forkhill, Armagh, pleaded guilty at Newry Crown Court on Monday to excise fraud.
HMRC said it concerned the evasion of more than £43,329 in excise duty.
It added that he had been caught with “large quantities of non-UK duty paid cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco” after a car was stopped by police at a check point on the Victoria Road, Londonderry, in February 2018.
Thirty kilos of non-UK duty paid rolling tobacco was in the boot of the vehicle, and a follow-up search of his home revealed 60,136 non-UK duty paid cigarettes and 5.1 kilos of non-UK duty paid rolling tobacco.
He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
Steve Tracey, HMRC assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service said: “McShane’s criminal activity undermines legitimate retailers who have to compete with the illicit tobacco trade.
“Illegal tobacco costs the UK economy around £1.8 billion a year – money needed to fund vital public services.”