A CARDIFF shopkeeper has been jailed for more than two years following an investigation into smuggled cigarettes, seized in France.

In January 2019, UK Border Force officers at the Channel Tunnel, intercepted 95,920 cigarettes at Coquelles.

The Cardiff destined consignment was addressed to a storage unit on Penarth Road registered to Lukasz Grubecki, 35, of Tremorfa.

Grubecki was arrested at the storage unit two days later. HMRC officers were searching the address when he arrived.

A further 128,840 cigarettes and 24.8kg of hand-rolling tobacco (HRT) were discovered at the site.

Following his arrest, Grubecki continued breaking the law.


In November 2019, 17,980 illegal cigarettes and 2.95kg of HRT were seized from his shop on Wilson Road, in Ely Cardiff.

In the same month, Grubecki tried smuggling 23,000 cigarettes on return flights from Turkey and the Czech Republic through Birmingham and Luton airports.

In total, the illegally imported cigarettes and tobacco were worth more than £98,000 in lost duty and taxes. Altogether 276,160 cigarettes and 24.8kg of HRT were seized.

Andy Parker, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Grubecki was importing thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco products into the country, stealing from the UK taxpayer and undercutting, honest, local businesses.

“The sale of illegal cigarettes will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies and Grubecki is now paying the price for his crime.

“Cheap cigarettes come at a cost, often funding organised crime and other illegal activity.

"If you know anyone smuggling, selling or storing illicit cigarettes, you can report it to HMRC online or call the fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Grubecki pleaded guilty to five charges of attempting to evade excise duty and Trade Mark offences at Cardiff Magistrates Court.

Today at Newport Crown Court he was sentenced to a jail term of two years and four months for charges relating to the seizures in December 2018 and January 2019.

He also received a custodial sentence of 12 months for three charges relating to postal seizures, and eight months for Trade Mark offences.

All sentences are to run concurrently.

Grubecki was immediately taken into custody.