Illegal Cigarette Smuggling Ring Gets Extinguished In Wales Tobacco Crack Down

More than 60,000 illicit cigarettes and almost 160 kilos of tobacco, including a haul concealed in boxing punch bags – have been seized in south Wales.

This week as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) continues its crack down on those who smuggle and sell non duty paid tobacco products.

The punch bags, containing 53 kilos of loose tobacco, were seized at a Newport distribution centre before they could be delivered to a house in Cardiff.

Officers visiting Swansea and Carmarthenshire seized more than 32,000 cigarettes, 83 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, 60 cigars and a vehicle. The largest haul was in Llanelli, where 80 kilos of tobacco and 8,100 cigarettes were found after a search of a garage and a car parked outside a domestic property. The vehicle was seized. In a separate visit 19,300 cigarettes were discovered in a house in Ammanford.

Officers also worked in the south Wales valleys where they seized over 22,000 illicit cigarettes and 16 kilos of hand rolling tobacco. In Pontypridd, officers seized 7,600 cigarettes and almost 5 kilos of tobacco from a commercial property, along with 9060 cigarettes and almost 10 kilos of tobacco from a house in the town.

Keith Morgan, Specialist Investigations for HMRC said:

“Our teams continue to use information to identify, investigate and pursue those whose profits come from evading tax. These criminals operate at an advantage over law abiding businesses and customers who pay the right amount of duty on their tobacco products.

“By buying ‘bargain’ cigarettes at cheap prices, customers unwillingly start trading with criminals who often use their ill gotten gains to fund other, more serious criminal activity. I would urge people tempted by cheap tobacco to think twice before handing over their cash – you could be helping to finance drug smuggling and more.”

Additional searches and seizures were made in Cardiff, Ebbw Vale, Tonypandy, Bargoed and Treherbert.

Anyone with information about smuggling can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.

source: http://thegovmonitor.com

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