Illegal Tobacco keep it out

HMRC stop 10-million illegal cigarettes hitting Merseyside streets

Five Merseyside men have been arrested and almost 10-million illegal cigarettes seized by officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Five Merseyside men have been arrested and almost 10-million illegal cigarettes seized by officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The huge haul of smuggled cigarettes, with a duty value of over £1.8 million, were delivered to premises in Ellesmere Port on Monday morning after being illegally imported from Dubai, via Holland into the UK.

The raid is being seen as a significant step in reducing the harm that illegal tobacco can do to local communities in Merseyside. Although often seen as a victimless crime, the trade is known to make it easier for young people to smoke and often connects communities with a wider web of more serious criminality.

Mike O’Grady, HMRC Assistant Director Criminal Investigation said: “This operation resulted in the seizure of millions of illicit cigarettes in all likelihood eventually destined for the Cheshire and Merseyside areas. Smuggling has a devastating impact on honest retailers forced to compete with the shadow economy in these hard times.”

All five men from the Wallasey area have been bailed pending further enquiries into this huge seizure.

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