A FORMER greengrocer who turned to illegal cigarettes and alcohol as a more lucrative trade has been order to pay £216,500 within six months or serve a further two and-a-half jail sentence.

Joseph Paul Honeyman stored almost one million cigarettes at a house belonging to him in Middlesbrough and had them professionally displayed in a glass cabinet for buyers to peruse.

Customers officers also seized 499 litres of vodka and 710 kilograms of hand-rolled tobacco from the premises.

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison in October last year after admitting evading excuse duty worth £309,698.

A judge at Teesside Crown Court said the 55-year-old, of Croft Avenue, Acklam, Middlesbrough, should pay back £216,500, which were deemed to be his realisable assets.

Diane Donnelly, assistant director of criminal Investigation at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs,  said: “Honeyman was out to line his own pockets and went to jail for his crimes, but our action does not stop there. We will continue to look for any profit he has had from his illegal smuggling activity and take action to recover it.”

:: Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling should call the Customs’ Hotline on 0800-595-000.