More than 50,000 illicit cigarettes seized in raids in Telford and the West Midlands

More than 50,000 illicit cigarettes were seized during 20 raids on shops in Telford and a home in the West Midlands.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs said cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol seized had an estimated £100,000 of duty and VAT evaded from a West Bromwich house, with a further £25,000 evaded in Telford.

Across the raids on August 5, 6 and 10, officers found a total 53,580 cigarettes, 364.65 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and 12 litres of alcohol, all believed to be illicit.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to seizures at suspected illegal tobacco and alcohol products being seized from 10 premises.

More than 315 kilos of hand rolling tobacco was found in West Bromwich, worth £96,000 in duty and VAT. A further £9,600 was evaded from 25,600 cigarettes.

The haul from the Telford side of the operation included 27,980 cigarettes and 48.65kg of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated duty of over £25,000.

Paul Fisher, assistant director of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: "The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol 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 £1.8 billion a year.”

Anybody with information can call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.

Date: 14 August 2019 | Source: Shropshire Star

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