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Brit who masterminded UK tobacco smuggling ring captured in Hua Hin

A wanted British national who it is alleged was at the centre of a multi-million pound tobacco smuggling ring has been captured by police in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khirikhan province.

Paul Joyce from Northumberland was said to be the mastermind of a gang who smuggled more than 10 million cigarettes into the UK in 2008, which deprived the country of almost £2 million in lost tax revenue.

Whilst other members of the gang were jailed in the UK for a total of twelve years in 2011, Paul Joyce had remained at large having evaded arrest in 2008.

On Wednesday, Joyce was finally apprehended in the car park of the Sea-Cret Hotel in Hua Hin by officers from Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau, reports the Bangkok Post.

It is unclear exactly how long Joyce has been Thailand after fleeing the UK, although the Bangkok Post says that he could have been in the country since 2008.

During the trial held at Newcastle Crown Court in 2011, local newspaper The Journal reported how the jury was told that Joyce played a key role in the smuggling operation.

“Paul Joyce is at the centre of this conspiracy. On each occasion the cigarettes were being smuggled the prosecution say Joyce played a significant role co-ordinating the operation by phone with individuals on the ground,” said Alex Offer prosecuting.

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