A TAXI driver who was caught smuggling more than 50,000 cigarettes into Glasgow Airport from Bahrain has been fined £4,000.

Thomas Trower, 46, arrived at the Paisley-based terminal on July 25 last year, via a connecting flight from Heathrow.

He believed his bags hadn't made it to Glasgow and arranged for a courier to deliver them later that day, stating on a form that there was no duty free items inside.

However, unknown to him, Border Force officers were in the process of preparing to X-ray his three bags at the airport.

They found there were no clothes or personal possessions inside but did discover a total of 56,000 London cigarettes, 600 Regal cigarettes and 2kg of Golden Virginia tobacco.

Trower’s fingerprints were found on the cigarettes.

He later pleaded guilty to evading almost £20,000 of excise duty at Paisley Sheriff Court.

And when Trower, of Whifflet Court, Coatbridge, returned to the dock last week to learn his fate, he was handed a £4,000 fine.

Cheryl Burr, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Trower was aiming to undercut legitimate traders with these cigarettes and packets of tobacco.

"The illicit tobacco market costs the UK around £2.5billion a year and smuggling these goods into the UK will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.”