Romanian pair Agostan Bardoczi, 29, and Alexandru Belea, 22, were found with the non-UK duty paid products at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, having arrived on a flight from their home country.
They have now been sentenced at Doncaster Magistrates' Court after a HMRC investigation.
Bardoczi, who now lives in Sheffield, and Belea were stopped by Border Force officers, who discovered 8,400 cigarettes in Belea's suitcase, laptop case and a carrier bag.
A further 820 were hidden in Bardoczi's luggage. More than £3,000 worth of taxes should have been paid on the goods.
Bardoczi was previously caught with 9,600 cigarettes at Luton Airport in August 2017 and 8,200 cigarettes at Doncaster Sheffield Airport in September 2017. He admitted it was his idea to fill Belea’s suitcase and bags with the cigarettes, and he planned to sell the goods in the UK.
Belea claimed the trip had been paid for by Bardoczi in return for him carrying the cigarettes. Both admitted evasion of excise duty in court last month, and were sentenced this week.
Bardoczi was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £521. Belea was ordered to pay £3,492 within 28 days.
An HMRC spokesperson said:
“Bardoczi and Belea thought they would get away with bringing thousands of illicit cigarettes into the UK but they were wrong.
“Those involved in the illicit tobacco trade are stealing from the taxpayer, robbing public services and undermining legitimate, honest traders. If you have information on the sale of illegal tobacco please contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”