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£6m smugglers jailed 20 years after East End warehouse raid

contraband tobaccoFirst published: February 23, 2010

Source: East London Advertiser

TWO men behind an international smuggling racket have been jailed today (Tuesday) for nearly 20 years between them for their part in smuggling 11 million cigarettes, five tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco and thousands of litres of wine into Britain.

The contraband thought to have a ‘cut price’ street value of £6 million was stashed in a warehouse in London’s East End which was raided by police and customs officers.

It had been smuggled in through Tilbury and Ipswich in mattresses, glass jars, toilet rolls and barbeque charcoal.

The smugglers used a warehouse in Cable Street in Shadwell for their dodgy consumables to evade £6m import duty.

Judge Peter Fenn told the pair: “This was highly and professionally organised smuggling. You had numerous sources for cigarettes and tobacco around the world and played an organisational role in the deliveries to Cable Street.”

Gary Woodroof, 52, from Chigwell, was jailed for nine years today for smuggling and evading excise duty after being convicted at Ipswich crown court on February 19.

Daniel Parman, 50, from Buckhurst Hill, was jailed 10 years for excise duty evasion. He admitted alcohol smuggling, but denied tobacco smuggling.

HM Customs’ investigations assistant director John Kay said after today’s hearing: “The sheer quantities of illicit alcohol and tobacco would have undermined honest traders right across the UK.”

The warehouse turned out to be the secret base for a major global smuggling racket. The gang used a legitimate company’s details to ship the dodgy goods from France, Poland, South Africa, and China.


Details of some of the contraband:

– Container arriving in Purfleet from Poland loaded with 26 pallets of glass jars had 3.5m cigarettes hidden inside

– Charcoal from South Africa for barbeques arriving at Tilbury disguised tonnes of hand rolling tobacco

– Mattresses from China shipped to Felixstowe had 2.5m counterfeit cigarettes inside instead of springs and stuffing

– Toilet rolls from China concealed 2.89m counterfeit cigarettes

Written by Mike Brooke

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