Contraband racket foiled

FELIXSTOWE customs officers today revealed they have foiled international racketeers attempting to smuggle in 12 million cigarettes.Three multi-million consignments destined for the black market were seized during a 24-hour period at the town's port.

FELIXSTOWE customs officers today revealed they have foiled international racketeers attempting to smuggle in 12 million cigarettes.

Three multi-million consignments destined for the black market were seized during a 24-hour period at the town's port.

Smugglers from the Far East attempted to dupe officers by bringing in the contraband under the guise of legal goods.

The total value of the seizures is said to be £2million.

The first consignment of four million counterfeit cigarettes arrived at the docks in a container from China.

The documentation described the cargo as tissues and napkin paper.

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It was believed to be destined for the Midlands area.

On the same day officers examined another container at the port.

During a search they discover another consignment of four million cigarettes.

These also originated in China.

The cartel behind the importation tried to smuggle in the cigarettes under the guise of footwear.

The smokes were destined for the Manchester area.

A day later yet another four million cigarettes were found in what should have been a container of footwear.

The documentation also described some of the contents as goods for starting a Chinese restaurant.

They were believed to be destined for markets in West London.

All three consignments came in on July 12 and 13.

Maddy Ratnett HM Revenue and Customs spokeswoman said: “This illegal activity should be condemned by the public.

“Not only are counterfeit cigarettes more dangerous to health due to their unregulated chemical content, but 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.

“I urge members of the public, newsagents or the off license trade and stallholders at local markets who know of any suspicious activities that may be linked to tobacco smuggling to call our 24-hour confidential hotline 0800 59 5000."

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