SEVEN men have been jailed after HM Revenue and Customs smashed a £28 million cigarette smuggling conspiracy.
The gang - led by Kamaran Khader from Greenock and including Glasgow man Sirwan Hassan from Pollokshields - imported millions of low grade and counterfeit tobacco, which they sold across northern England and Scotland.
Once in the UK, the goods were transported to industrial storage sites in Blackburn, Oldham, Essex, Ascot and Slough and then distributed.
But the gang was snarred after leaving fingerprints and DNA on discarded cans and bottles at sites where they had been operating.
Ringleader Khader, 31, of Greenock's Roxburgh Street, was jailed for six years for his role in planning the criminal operation sourcing the cigarettes and tobacco and arranging their delivery.
He appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday and Friday along side Sirwan Hassan, 36, of Maxwell Grove in Glasgow.
Hassan was sentenced to five for conspiracy to evade excise duty.
Both men were convicted by a jury at Manchester Crown Court.
Five other men were also imprisoned for their part in the smuggling ring by His Honour Judge Mansell QC.
They are Ahmed Salim Khezri, 24, of Rochdale who was sentenced to six years in prison and Ari Mohammed Rahimi, 23, of Oldham was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to evade excise duty.
Khalim Khan, 31, from Walsall, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court on 24 February 2014 to conspiracy to evade excise duty and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Waleed Mohyi, 34, from Bolton, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court on 11 March 2014 to money laundering and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Domink Kamusinski, 28, of Slough pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court on 13 March 2014 to money laundering and was sentenced to eight months in prison.