A self-storage facility was being used as a warehouse for huge quantities of cigarettes which were being smuggled to Wales from Europe.
The scam was uncovered when a lorry carrying 95,000 cigarettes in lead-lined wooden crates was intercepted by border guards as it emerged from the Channel Tunnel.
Inquiries led law enforcement officers to a Big Yellow storage centre in Cardiff and to more illegally-imported tobacco.
Prosecutor Tom Roberts told Cardiff Crown Court that on January 12, 2019, customs officers stopped an HGV as it entered the UK. Inside officers found 95,000 cigarettes in lead-lined wooden crates. The crates were destined for the Big Yellow storage centre in Penarth Road in Cardiff and when police went to the facility they found a self-storage unit containing almost-identical wooden crates of cigarettes along with a large quantity of rolling tobacco.