Fllegal cigs stubbed out
TWO million illegal cigarettes have been seized across the north west as part of a crackdown by customs officials.
The contraband was discovered during two days of raids at 82 shops and lock-ups across Greater Manchester and surrounding areas last week. Illicit goods were discovered at 26 of the premises visited.
Officials seized 1,815,960 cigarettes and 83.3 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco – on which an estimated £474,000 had not been paid in VAT and duties.
About 120 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from trading standards, police, and British (Picture posed by model) Gas were involved in the operation on June 28 and 29.
Sandra Smith, assistant director of fraud investigation at the HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.
“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.4bn a year.”
Customs officials have seized two million illegal cigarettes