Gang sentenced after illegal cigarettes smuggled from Poland found in tractor fuel tanks

Some of the illegal cigarettes found in the fuel tank of a tractor

A smuggling gang has been sentenced after more than 250,000 illegal cigarettes were found in the fuel tanks of two tractors driven into the country from Poland.

Customs officials uncovered the haul – worth £50,000 – while searching a Bolton industrial unit last year.

They arrested six men at the scene and traced the scam to ringleader Abdul Rehman, 39, who was already on bail for a similar offence.

Abdul Rehman, an Afghani national, was jailed for 15 months at Bolton crown court after admitting conspiring to fraudulently evade excise.

Four other men – Stanley Solarczyk, 70, Waldemar Ociepka, 32, Khabat Amin, 31, and Ahmed Fatih, 28 – admitted the same offence.

Solarczyk, of Pleasant View, Long Lane, Bury, was jailed for six and a half months and Ociepka, of Giants Seat Grove, Swinton for seven and a half months.

Amin and Fatih, both of Howton Close, Manchester, were given 20 weeks suspended for 12 months, plus 200 hours of community service.

Two other members of the gang were jailed last year for the same crime.

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