A local man has been sentenced to nine months in prison after he was part of a group caught with 1.2 million illegal cigarettes.
Mark Taylor, 50, from Buckhaven, and Altaf Umarji, 47, from Leicester, were caught by HMRC investigators in January 2014 with nearly 900,000 illegal cigarettes at a Little Chef car park near the village of Talke in Staffordshire.
Umarji escaped from the scene but was pursued by police officers who discovered £5,000 in Scottish bank notes inside the car. He was also caught on camera throwing cigarettes from the van he was driving.
Paul Taft, 42, from Stoke, and Surinder Heer, 44, from Walsall, had been loading boxes into a VW van at a nearby pallet company.
Both men tried to run from the scene but were stopped and arrested.
Officers discovered 215,400 cigarettes inside the vehicle and a further 88,200 non-duty paid cigarettes in a container. All four men were convicted of excise duty evasion.
Umarji pleaded guilty following his arrest in 2014 and Taylor, Taft and Heer pleaded guilty to the same offence on the opening day of their trial on December 10 last year.
The men were sentenced to a total of 30 months in prison at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
The 1.2 million 777 branded cigarettes, worth more than £600,000 in unpaid duty, have been destroyed.