A Liverpool man who has been on the run for several months after smuggling 7.7 million illicit cigarettes into the UK has been found guilty and sentenced to six years imprisonment in his absence. Philip McCarthy disappeared after he was charged with tobacco smuggling offences in May 2012 and failed to turn up to his trial this week. HMRC criminal investigators are now appealing to the public to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 if they have any information regarding McCarthy’s whereabouts. Calls can be made anonymously.
Mike O’Grady, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: “McCarthy’s criminal activities would have resulted in a revenue loss of some £1.5m to public finances. This was serious organised crime and we are focused on tracking him down to ensure he serves his time behind bars. We urgently appeal to the public to contact us if they have any information of his whereabouts so that justice can be rightly served.”