More than 50million cigarettes seized

RACKETEERS have been dealt a massive blow after it emerged today that 53 million counterfeit cigarettes have been seized at Felixstowe docks in just three weeks.

RACKETEERS have been dealt a massive blow after it emerged today that 53 million counterfeit cigarettes have been seized at Felixstowe docks in just three weeks.

The scale of international smuggling plots by organised crime gangs was revealed after the record number of seizures were made by customs officers.

Laid end-to-end the illegal cigarettes would stretch just over 3,000 miles, almost the distance from England to America and would have fetched around £7,950,000 on the black market.

The majority of the seizures came in from Asia.


You may also want to watch:


Seven million of the contraband were found in a container from Chiwan in China. The goods were described as scarves, hats and gloves and arrived in Felixstowe on November 21. When customs officers opened the boxes and found only a few contained the declared goods and the rest contained cigarettes.

The following day around nine million cigarettes were discovered in a container that had been shipped from Port Kelang in Malaysia. The documentation described the contents as triple coil heaters which were destined for Rotterdam.

Most Read

On November 24 approximately eight million cigarettes were discovered in another consignment from Chiwan. The contents of the container were again described as scarves, hats and gloves.

Another seizure of approximately two million smokes were heading for the west London markets. They were seized on November 25 and had come in under the cover load of metal furniture. They had also been shipped from Port Kelang.

Kevin Sayer HM Revenue and Customs detection manager at Felixstowe said: “We have again succeeded in removing millions of illicit tobacco products from our streets and will continue in our efforts to remove more. The annual cost of tobacco smuggling to the public purse is nearly £3 billion, which could be funding schools and hospitals. Tobacco smuggling also undermines legitimate businesses in the Felixstowe area and I would urge anyone who has information on any illegal activities to ring our 24-hour confidential hotline number on 0800 59 5000.”

No arrests have been made relating to the seizures, but customs officers said inquiries are ongoing.

N Has your business been damaged by the black market? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.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