Smugglers jailed for flooding the UK with illicit beer, wine and spirits

Brothers that evaded paying £3.6 million in tax by distributing illicit beer, wine and spirits across the UK have been jailed for a total of 12 years.

Tayfun and Taylan Donger were caught unloading smuggled beer at a warehouse in Epping on November 10, 2016.

HMRC officers arrested them, along with Northern Irishman Conor McCreesh, who had brought the drinks over from Belgium.

They seized more than £4,000 in cash, the equivalent of 119,000 pints of beer, 6,000 bottles of wine and 830 bottles of spirits, along with the HGV, a forklift truck, pump trucks and two vans, which had been used to carry or handle non-UK duty paid alcohol.

Subsequent investigations revealed that that during a seven-month period they had distributed smuggled alcohol worth £3.6 million in unpaid duty and VAT into the UK.

Days before the start of the trial, Taylan Donger attempted to flee to Turkey, but he was arrested by HMRC officers on September 20, 2018 at Stansted Airport and remanded in custody.

The brothers were found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on October 24 and then sentenced a week later.

Tayfun Donger was given a six-and-a-half year sentence and Taylan six years on November 1.

McCreesh, who admitted his role in the fraud and possessing false documentation, was given a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to do 270 hours of unpaid work.

Brett Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The Donger brothers thought they had developed the perfect scheme to illegally trade in illicit alcohol, diverting millions of pounds from public finances straight into their pockets, until HMRC officers stopped them in their tracks.

“These men were stealing from the taxpayer and undercutting legitimate traders.

“The money they evaded was the equivalent of the starting salary for 130 new nurses in London.

“We urge any member of the public who know of anyone committing this type of crime to report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”