Smuggling air stewardess is grounded

An air stewardess who repeatedly smuggled shisha tobacco into the UK from Dubai, evading more than £57,000 in excise duty, has been jailed for 18 months after she was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Jade Kaur, from Stretford, was caught with 25kg of non-UK duty paid shisha tobacco and 3,200 cigarettes in her luggage when stopped by Border Force officers after landing at Manchester Airport in November last year.

The 27-year-old was arrested and the HMRC investigation uncovered messages on her mobile phone that proved she had carried out at least a dozen similar long-haul trips while off duty.

Kaur owned up to illegally bringing 275kg of shisha into the UK between July 2014 and November 2014 while flying in on staff-discounted tickets from Dubai, where she was based at the time, to Manchester.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“As an air stewardess, Kaur knew exactly what she was doing was illegal, yet kept on going for months purely to line her own pockets. But now the game is up and she is paying the highest price by losing her freedom, not to mention her career.

“HMRC will not hesitate to investigate those who try to profit from defrauding honest taxpayers and businesses. If you have information about illegal smuggling activity, the transport, storage or sale of illicit tobacco, cigarettes or alcohol you should contact the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Kaur pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown to Court to three counts of the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.