A doctor has escaped jail after illegally buying duty-free cigarettes and selling them on the black market, just days afterfigcaption> HMRC pledged to crackdown on illicit tobacco.

Dr Alan Pollock cheated the taxman out of £28,000 in duty and VAT by selling illegal cigarettes, but was only given a two-year suspended sentence.

The sentencing judge was shocked at Pollock’s criminal behaviour in the illegal tobacco trade. “It baffles me that as a respected GP you became involved in this squalid criminality,” said Judge Scott-Gall.

[pull_quote_center]With a good salary and considerable wealth, you had to go grubbing around making dirty money buying duty-free cigarettes and flogging them off. What a terrible fall from grace.[/pull_quote_center]

Mother and daughter Jayne White, a former airport worker, and Lucy, 20, teamed up with the health professional to carry out the scam, by using counterfeit boarding cards to purchase duty-free cigarettes in airport shops.

illegal cigarettes Pollock, Lucy White and Jayne White

Pollock helped White to make travel arrangements and produce counterfeit boarding passes for flights to non-EU destinations including Geneva, Zurich, Tenerife and Lanzarote from his home computer.

The mother and daughter team were stopped by Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport in April 2013, while waiting to board a domestic flight to Edinburgh. The pair were then arrested and questioned by HMRC officers after they found 3,000 duty-free cigarettes, which can only be purchased if travelling outside the European Union, in their possession.

The HMRC and Border Force have teamed up to fight against illegal tobacco smuggling into the UK.

Illegal cigarettes A successful HMRC tobacco raid in Hampshire last year worth £300,000

Last week, the Government departments announced measures that will include the introduction of a registration scheme for those who deal in raw tobacco, a consultation with other departments and law enforcement agencies, and the commission of academic research to provide further evidence on how to the problem internationally.

The black market costs the UK £2bn per year and £30bn is lost internationally through unpaid tobacco taxes.