Smugglers foiled in bid to smuggle five million cigarettes through Felixstowe port

Part of the consignment of five million illegal cigarettes found at the Port of Felixstowe.

Part of the consignment of five million illegal cigarettes found at the Port of Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

An attempt to smuggle more than five million cigarettes into the UK has been prevented by Border Force officers at the Port of Felixstowe, it has been revealed today.

The 5.1m cigarettes had been shipped to the UK’s biggest container port from the Netherlands inside a trailer whose contents had been listed as “stage and stand equipment”.

Boarder Force officials said that if the smuggling attempt had proved successful it could have cost the Treasury approximately £1.6m in unpaid duty.

Charlotte Mann, Border Force assistant director at Felixstowe, said: “Beyond mislabelling the contents of the trailer the criminals responsible had made little attempt to conceal the cigarettes.

“The trailer had been loaded with 22 pallets wrapped in blue shrink wrap, with cartons of cigarettes inside the shrink wrap.

“This was a flagrant smuggling attempt and by stopping the shipment we have starved those responsible of the proceeds of their criminality.

“I would urge anyone tempted by cheap cigarettes and tobacco to think again.

Most Read

“The black market cheats honest traders and it is effectively stealing from the public purse.”

The seizure was made on November 17. It is understood no arrests have yet been made.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment at Ffelixstowe to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

They use an array of search techniques, which in addition to sniffer dogs includes carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

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