Fraudsters' tobacco stash found at Black Country football club

Three tobacco fraudsters were caught with more than 198,000 illegal cigarettes at the grounds of a Black Country football club.

The trio were handed suspended sentences
The trio were handed suspended sentences

HM Revenue and Customs caught the men red-handed with 198,400 Gold Mount cigarettes and £17,000 in a plastic bag at Wednesfield Football Club.

David Mills, from Wolverhampton, along with Demetris Aristidou and Prodomus Prodromou from Norwich, were all arrested at Cottage Ground, Amos Lane, after they tried to flee as investigators approached them.

Officers from HMRC found the cigarettes, worth £67,000 in unpaid duty, under packets of toilet rolls in a van driven by 57-year-old Aristidou.

Inspectors searched the car park and found the sum of cash hidden in a rubbish bin in front of the clubhouse.

The bag was covered in fingerprints from 49-year-old Mills, of Cannock Road, who pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty in March 2018.

Aristidou and Prodromou, both of Georges Farm, Eccles, were found guilty of the same offence after a trial at Leicester Crown Court last month.

The trio were all sentenced at the same court on May 14 and were given suspended sentences.

Aristidou and Prodromou, aged 56, were both jailed for six-and-a-half months, suspended for two years, and were both ordered to pay £750 in costs and complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Mills was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

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