THREE men arrested earlier this year after Customs officers seized a massive haul of bootleg cigarettes in Huddersfield are to be sentenced by a judge next month.
Investigators found more than 2million cigarettes on the former Hollidays chemical site off Leeds Road and claimed that the smugglers had avoided paying duty of almost £½m.
The trio, including 40-year-old Kenneth Wall, of Belmont Place, Low Moor, Bradford, were all charged with being knowingly concerned in the evasion of duty chargeable on goods after the swoop on the former industrial site in Huddersfield back in January.
Wall, together with 40-year-old Russell Bakewell, of Leeds Road, Shaw Cross, Dewsbury, and 40-year-old Stephen Cullen, from Liverpool, had been due to stand trial at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, but they all changed their pleas to guilty.
The Customs and Excise operation led to 2.3 million cigarettes being seized and prosecutor Camille Morland confirmed yesterday that excise duty totalling £444,812.45 had been evaded as a result.
All three men entered guilty pleas on a specific basis relating to their involvement with the consignment.
The full details of the case will be outlined when they are sentenced by Judge Peter Benson at Leeds Crown Court on November 29.
After Bakewell entered his guilty plea Judge Benson warned him to expect a prison sentence at the next hearing and it was also revealed that he will be the subject of a confiscation hearing at a later date.
Judge Benson granted all three men unconditional bail until their sentence hearing and he ordered that pre-sentence reports should be prepared on each of them.