100kgs of smuggled tobacco concealed in shelves
A man was arrested after Customs officers foiled an attempt to smuggle 100 kilos of tobacco into Northern Ireland from China.
The hand rolling tobacco with a potential revenue loss of £20,000 had been hidden inside wooden shelving and was discovered during checks of parcels by UK Border Force staff.
Customs officers later searched a private address in Belfast's Donegall Road area where the man was detained. He was later released. John Whiting, assistant director criminal investigation HMRC, said: “We would normally expect concealments of this standard for illegal drug imports, but this shows the lengths that criminals will go to in order to avoid paying tax.
“This form of criminality is motivated solely by greed and costs UK taxpayers around £3bn per year in unpaid duty.
“The unregulated sale of illegal cigarettes is not a victimless or harmless crime. It supports criminality within our communities and encourages otherwise honest people to trade with international criminal networks.”