Newcastle tobacco plot foiled after man found with more than 350,000 illicit cigarettes.

A tobacco smuggling plot has been stubbed out after a man was caught with more than 350,000 cigarettes stashed at his Newcastle home.

Derek Tams was found with the illicit hoard, which also included 220kg of rolling tobacco, in vehicles parked in his garage at Essex Close, Cruddas Park, in the city’s West End.

Unbeknown to the 58-year-old, he was being watched by HM Revenue and Customs officers as he transported the non-UK duty paid cigarettes into the vehicles, a court heard.

The officers then raided the address and found the illegal stash, as well as more than £47,000 in cash.

In total, around £136,688 had been cheated from the tax man, prosecutors said.

Now, Tams, of Essex Close, Cruddas Park, has avoided a jail sentence after he argued he was only a “foot soldier” in the illicit operation.