Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

500,000 cigarettes seized in Tralee

Customs officers have seized 500,000 cigarettes after they swooped on a van in Co Kerry.

Customs officers have seized 500,000 cigarettes and 1,000 litres of suspected counterfeit vodka after they swooped on a van in Co Kerry.

About 130kg of hand-rolling tobacco was also discovered in the vehicle stopped in Tralee as part of an operation targeting the sale and supply of illegal cigarettes.

The Palace, John Player Blue and Benson and Hedges contraband has a retail value of around 300,000 euro.

The van was seized and two men in their 40s were questioned by customs officers, but not arrested.

Lobby group Retailers Against Smugglers welcomed the seizure but said a greater clampdown on the illegal trade is required.

Spokesman John Healy said: "We have noticed an unprecedented level of illegal selling in this region in the past 12 months - his is the same in all rural parts of Ireland.

"Criminals are moving across the country with their illegal activity and more and more retailers are being put under serious pressure."

Mr Healy said retailers lost almost 700 million euro in tobacco sales last year despite the increased number of seizures.

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