A FORMER Hartlepool police officer has been found guilty of playing a key role in a multi-million pound smuggling operation that brought cigarettes into the country from around the globe.
Anthony Lamb, 48, of Ashborne Drive, Coxhoe, was found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of conspiracy to evade cigarette duty.
Another former town policeman, Gary Thompson, 43, of Burdon Walk, Castle Eden, and David Lister, 49, of Downham Market, Norfolk, had already pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Between them the trio arranged the importation of 21 shipping containers from ports including Dubai, Singapore, Turkey and Greece.
The court heard there had been a conspiracy to evade almost £11m in duty between July 1, 2007, and March 6, 2010.
Seven of the containers containing 60 million cigarettes were seized by HM Revenue and Customs officers, with the consignments disguised as innocuous items.
Lamb was told by Judge David Wood that all sentencing options, including custody, would be considered when he returns to court next month.
Lamb, who was granted bail, will be sentenced alongside Thompson and Lister in the week beginning June 25.