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Massive haul of illicit cigs and tobacco is recovered

By Staff Reporter

Published 16/09/2016

Three men have been arrested and more than 750,000 cigarettes and 40 kilos of hand rolling tobacco have been seized by Customs officers in Co Londonderry.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the PSNI searched a number of domestic premises, outbuildings and vehicles yesterday where the suspected illicit tobacco products, worth an estimated £250,000 in lost duty and taxes, were found.

A 63-year-old man from south Derry and two men aged 69 and 24 from Co Armagh were arrested.

Approximately £37,000 in cash, two cars, one van and two horse boxes were also seized during the operation. The three men were interviewed by HMRC and have been released on bail. Investigations into the suspected fraud are ongoing.

HMRC fraud investigation assistant director Steve Tracey said: "Tobacco fraudsters are costing the UK £2bn a year in lost taxes. Disrupting this illegal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market."

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