Massive cigarette haul at Felixstowe

CUSTOMS officers today revealed they had seized more than 7,200,000 cigarettes which international racketeers had attempted to smuggle in through Felixstowe.

CUSTOMS officers today revealed they had seized more than 7,200,000 cigarettes which international racketeers had attempted to smuggle in through Felixstowe.

The duty and VAT chargeable on this amount of cigarettes alone is in the region of £1.5 million, without taking into account what the packets could be sold for on the black market.

The seizure came after they examined a container from the Hanjing Gothenburg.

This container vessel had arrived from Port Kelang in Malaysia over the Christmas period.

The consignment was described as rewritable CDs. However, among the load, officers discovered millions of illicit cigarettes.

No arrests have been made but enquiries are ongoing.

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A spokeswoman for HM Revenue and Customs said: “Smugglers who believe that they can use the festive period to try and import illegal goods into the UK are mistaken.

“HMRC operates 365 days a year and will remain vigilant through out holiday periods.

“The criminals involved in the smuggling of cigarettes are often linked to serious organised crime which has a detrimental effect not only to small traders in the area, but on our society as a whole.”