24/08/2012 Canary Islands/Great Britain (BG) - Two Ryanair cabin crew members have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling £6,000 (€7,600) worth of cigarettes into Liverpool airport on Monday.
Stewards Gemma Philips, 26, and Adam McEvatt, 28, both from Merseyside arrived on a flight from the Canary Islands when Border Force officers discovered approximately 13,800 cigarettes in their baggage.
The pair were arrested on Tuesday and charged with evasion of excise duty and have been released on bail until the 17th of September, when they will appear before Manchester Magistrates court.
A spokesperson for Border Force said: “Two individuals travelling form the Canary Islands carrying excess cigarettes were stopped at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. They were arrested on suspicion of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty”.
“Tobacco smuggling is serious and increases the tax burden on everyone else. Revenue from cigarettes and tobacco helps fund public services. Tobacco smugglers are tracked by Border Force and HMRC, and repeat offenders will be prosecuted”, the spokesperson added.
New laws introduced in October of last year in the United Kingdom limit people travelling from within the EU to 800 cigarettes per person. Duty must be paid on any additional amount.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “As this alleged incident is the subject of a criminal investigation, we are not in a position to comment, other than to note the individuals in question were off-duty at the time of the alleged offences”.