Two men could face jail after being caught with thousands of contraband cigarettes.
A seizure of 797,540 Embassy Regal cigarettes were found in a concealed floor in a van in Houghton in June last year.
Raymond Taylor and John Nixon, who has collected the consignment from the depot, were arrested in an operation mounted by HM Revenue and Customs and police.
A further 90,4000 contraband cigarettes, a mix of Regal, JIM and Palace brands, were later found at Taylor’s home.
The scam represented a potential loss of £235,000 to HMRC had the items been sold legitimately.
Appearing at Durham Crown Court, Taylor, 58, of Woodbine Avenue, Horden, admitted two counts of possessing goods on which duty had not been paid.
Nizon, 56, of West Lane, Middlesbrough, admitted a single charge.
The case has been adjourned for reports until Friday, October 7, when both Taylor and Nixon will be sentenced.