Two criminals who made millions of pounds by smuggling non UK-duty paid Polish beer into the country and selling it ‘off-book’ to retailers have been jailed for a combined total of seven years.
Radoslaw Dobron, 36, and Ilona Leszczynska, 37, smuggled 122 lorry loads of non UK-duty paid beer via a North London based alcohol wholesaler.
The beer, worth more than £3.1m in evaded duty, was smuggled to Top Seller Ltd by abusing a commercial importers scheme.
The Polish branded beer including Tyskie, Lech, Perla and Zubbr, was then sold in ‘off-book’ sales to retailers. An estimated £4.2m was made as profit which was then laundered.
Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) arrested company director Dobron and office manager Leszczynska in Essex in February 2018.
Carmine di Franco, assistant director in HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Smuggling millions of cans of cheap beer gave them an unfair advantage over the law-abiding majority and deprived our vital public services of funds. Disrupting the criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clamp down on the illicit alcohol market which costs the UK around £1 billion per year.
“Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in the sale, storage or smuggling of illicit alcohol can contact the HMRC hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Dobron admitted cheating the public revenue, money laundering and VAT fraud in July 2022, and was jailed for three years and eight months. Leszcynska was convicted of cheating the public revenue and VAT fraud following a four-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court that finished in June 2023. She was jailed today for three years and four months.