AN HGV driver from Rosyth has been sentenced for his involvement in a £6,500 cigarette and tobacco fraud.

Ross McDonald, 44, of Irene Hughes Drive, appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court yesterday after an investigation into illegal goods by HMRC.

He admitted carrying cigarettes and tobacco which were chargeable with a duty and which had not been paid, with intent to defraud Her Majesty.

Another HGV driver, Daniel Lavigillante, 35, of Montrose, admitted a similar charge.

The fraud was first uncovered when police officers searched two vehicles being driven by McDonald and Lavigillante in September 2018 at Bandeath Industrial Estate in Throsk, Stirling.

Officers found 410 pouches of rolling tobacco and 400 cigarettes in Lavigillante’s vehicle. The duty evaded on the goods totalled £4,407.

Another 200 pouches of rolling tobacco were discovered in McDonald’s HGV along with £605 and €65 in cash.

The duty evaded on the tobacco was £2,097.

Data on mobile phones seized from McDonald and Lavigillante revealed they were linked to the sale and distribution of the illegal products.

The paid pleaded guilty and Lavigillante was fined £900 and McDonald was fined £720.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “This was a deliberate and orchestrated attempt to pocket money that should be used to help fund the public services we rely on.

“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year.

"We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”