A BOTCHED attempt to smuggle thousands of pounds worth of tobacco through Harwich was uncovered - after the culprit left the contraband in a port cafe.

David Carr, 44, left seven suitcases full of tobacco and cigarettes in the passenger cafe waiting area of Harwich International Port while he gave his friend a lift in his car.

Officers found 78 kilos of tobacco and 2,800 cigarettes in the cases, which had his name on, and a further 10,000 cigarettes in the boot of his car. The revenue evaded was estimated as £15,800.

Carr, of 6 Ocknell Grove, Hythe, Southampton, admitted smuggling offences at to HM Revenue and Customs investigators that he had been very foolish.

He was arrested on the August 7 in Harwich and was charged with smuggling offences at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, November 8, and ordered to pay back £15,800 within 28 days or face a default sentence of nine months in jail.

The cigarettes and tobacco have been destroyed.