Burglar jailed for stealing illegal cigarettes worth £22,000

A multi-agency operation focused on King Street in Great Yarmouth uncovered around 17,500 illegal ci

Hawbash Hasan was caught stealing illegal cigarettes in King Street, Great Yarmouth - Credit: Archant

A man was caught trying to steal a haul of illegal cigarettes worth more than £22,000.

Hawbash Hasan, 26, drove from his home in Kent where he met with a group of four other men to carry out the cigarette raid on premises in King Street, Great Yarmouth.

Giles Fleming, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said that police got an anonymous tip-off about the burglary and arrived on the scene as the raid was taking place.

He said while two from the group escaped, they arrested Hasan and two other men at the scene, who were later released without charge.

Mr Fleming said the cigarettes were illegal as they did not conform to UK standards and a haul worth more than £22,000 was found loaded in a van and more cigarettes were also found on the premises.

He said he did not know if the cigarettes had been smuggled into the UK or were fake brands.

"It was a planned and professional operation. The premises were targeted with the knowledge of the contents."

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Hasan claimed he was taking the cigarettes because he was owed wages by the owner.

Hasan, of no fixed address, admitted burglary on November 14, last year. He also admitted possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage in January, this year, in Kent.

Matthew Sorel-Cameron, for Hasan, said that he had got involved in the burglary to get back money he was owed.

"He was taking matters into his own hands. The loss to the victim was the loss of criminal activity," Mr Sorel-Cameron said.

He said that Hasan was an asylum seeker who had fled Iran: "He was living an itinerant lifestyle."

Jailing him for 10 months, Judge Stephen Holt said Hasan was part of a group who had carried out the burglary.

He said that when police acted on a tip-off they had found Hasan carrying two bags of the cigarettes and others loaded in a van.

He said: "This was a planned professional operation targeting premises. You travelled up from Kent and a van would have been used to remove the cigarettes. The items you stole were illegal items."

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