Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Customs in big tobacco seizure

Customs officials and police have seized 19,000 cigarettes and 4kg of hand rolling tobacco in a raid.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and PSNI officers searched two premises and a commercial vehicle in west Belfast yesterday morning.

The cigarettes and tobacco seized are estimated to be worth nearly £6,300 in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

Some of the tobacco products were found in a commercial vehicle which was seized by HMRC officers, then restored to the owner following payment of £3,400.

John Whiting, assistant director criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “Although you may think you are getting a bargain, you really have no idea what you are paying for.

“Tobacco smuggling is organised fraud on a global scale, encouraging and supporting criminality within our communities, and robbing taxpayers of millions each year in unpaid duty and VAT.

“Anyone with information about the storage or sale of illegal tobacco in their area should contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000 or www.hmrc.gov.|uk/customs-hotline.”

Investigations are still ongoing.

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