Millions of cigarettes seized at port

CUSTOMS officers today revealed they had seized more than 25 million counterfeit cigarettes and a quantity of chewing tobacco over the festive period.The seizures, which have taken place over the last two weeks, equate to a total evasion of duty of more than £1million and included shipments from China, Dubai and Pakistan.

CUSTOMS officers today revealed they had seized more than 25 million counterfeit cigarettes and a quantity of chewing tobacco over the festive period.

The seizures, which have taken place over the last two weeks, equate to a total evasion of duty of more than £1million and included shipments from China, Dubai and Pakistan.

Not only are the shipments illegal but the cigarettes could also pose a more serious risk to health than normal cigarettes.

A spokeswoman for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: “If you are offered cheap cigarettes just consider the following:

“The chances are that you will be ripped off as they will probably be fake - in 2005/06, 51 per cent of all major seizures were counterfeit.

“Tests have shown that counterfeit cigarettes may contain higher concentrations of harmful substances than their genuine counterparts.

Most Read

“It is normally impossible to tell a counterfeit pack of cigarettes from a genuine one - until you try to smoke one, that is.

“Counterfeit cigarettes often taste so unpleasant as to be virtually unsmokable.”

The latest seizures included an estimated 7.5million of counterfeit cigarettes which came in a container from Shanghai, China in late December.

The contents were described as baths, toilets and washbasins and were destined for a food company in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.

On December 22 an estimated three to four million Virginia KSF cigarettes arrived in a container from Port Rashid in Dubai.

They were described as printed matter and were thought to be heading for the Manchester markets.

Another seizure made by officers over the holiday period was from a container that had arrived from Karachi, Pakistan.

The cargo described on the documentation as crushed betel nuts turned out to be 89.4kgs of chewing tobacco.

It was heading for markets in the north of England.

Just last week The Evening Star revealed that customs officers had seized more than 7.2m cigarettes in another seizure over the Christmas period.

The seizure came after they examined a container from Port Kelang in Malaysia which was described as rewritable CDs.

Officers are continuing to investigate all of the seizures.

Have you been sold counterfeit cigarettes? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblink: www.hmrc.gov.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter