Cigarettes smuggled through Suffolk
A HUGE haul of nine million cigarettes which were smuggled into England through Felixstowe have been discovered in a container on a Merseyside farm.HM Revenue and Customs officers are today investigating who brought the cigarettes, which are thought to be worth about £2million, through Felixstowe port but no arrests have been made at this stage.
A HUGE haul of nine million cigarettes which were smuggled into England through Felixstowe have been discovered in a container on a Merseyside farm.
HM Revenue and Customs officers are today investigating who brought the cigarettes, which are thought to be worth about £2million, through Felixstowe port but no arrests have been made at this stage.
The massive find was made by customs officers last Thursday on a farm in Melling, near Southport.
The operation is one of the biggest counterfeit cigarette hauls ever conducted in Merseyside.
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Investigations have confirmed the shipment entered the country through Felixstowe and was then transported to Merseyside where it was found on the farm. It is not yet clear when the cigarettes entered the country.
Investigations are also under way to determine whether the cigarettes are linked to another haul of 3.5million cigarettes which were seized in a customs operation on an industrial estate in Stretford, Manchester, a day before the Merseyside raid.
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The cigarettes, which have Benson and Hedges branding, were discovered in a warehouse and experts are conducting tests to see if they are counterfeits.
One man from Liverpool has been arrested in connection with that raid and released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Peter Hollier, HMRC head of criminal investigations in the north west, said: “I want to emphasise that this illegal activity should be condemned by the public.
“Counterfeit products are more dangerous to health because of their unregulated chemical content.
“And smokers who think wrongly they are getting a bargain don't realise that this trade damages honest businesses, costs billions in lost revenue and lines the pockets of criminals instead of funding public services.
“Cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting is an organised crime as these cases demonstrate, often linked to money laundering and drugs.”
Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling should call 0800 59 5000.