A DUDLEY man who hid cash in his freezer has been jailed for his part in a million-pound tobacco smuggling racket.

Jian Ning Yang, aged 28, was arrested at his home in Linwood Road where officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found more than £38,000 including £9,000 hidden in a freezer.

The search also uncovered large quantities of tobacco, Amber Leaf pouches and paperwork showing payments made to storage and courier firms.

Yang, who pleaded guilty to evading excise duty, was a member of a smuggling ring which is believed to have illegally imported tobacco worth £1.7m.

Colin Booker, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “This highly organised, criminal gang thought nothing of ripping off honest taxpayers. They defrauded legitimate businesses and even their customers, who were sold a low-quality product.

“Our investigation has prevented a huge supply of unregulated tobacco from reaching the UK market. We will not cease in our efforts to tackle the cheats and fraudsters and their illegal activities.”

At Wolverhampton Crown Court Yang, who had been stopped on previous occasions with non-duty paid tobacco and cigarettes, was caged for two-and-a-half years.

Officers seized 9,425 tons of tobacco during the investigation into the gang’s activities. If sold legally the seized goods would generate £1.6m in tax.