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15 March 2014, 08:04
An attempt to smuggle five million cigarettes into the UK has been foiled by Border Force officers at the Port of Felixstowe.
Officers discovered them on Wednesday evening (12th March) when they investigated an unaccompanied trailer that had arrived at the port from the Netherlands. The smugglers had made no attempt to disguise or conceal the cargo inside the trailer.
Phillip Holliday, Border Force Regional Director, said: “The unpaid duty on these cigarettes would have run into seven figures and it is effectively stealing from the public purse and from law-abiding taxpayers.
“I would urge anyone tempted by cheap cigarettes and tobacco to think again. The black market cheats honest traders. It is totally unregulated so buyers have no way of knowing what they are actually getting and, worst of all, further up the supply chain criminals are reaping the rewards.
“Gangs often use the proceeds of tobacco smuggling to fund other forms of serious organised crime. By stopping these shipments we are starving them of the proceeds of their criminality.”
The cigarettes were of mixed brands and had the smuggling attempt been successful it could have the cost the Treasury about £1m in unpaid excise duty.
Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to tackle immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers try to bring into the country.
They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, 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.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.