Smuggled tobacco seized at port

Smuggled tobacco UK Border Agency officers have seized five tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco that was hidden in a lorry as it entered the country at Dover’s Eastern Docks.

The Czech-registered vehicle arrived on a ferry from Calais and was stopped by officers at the inward freight controls.

After questioning the 39-year-old Czech driver, officers searched the vehicle and trailer.

The haul of tobacco, with Luxembourg tax stamps, was found in 11 shrink wrapped pallets within a load of electrical materials.

The case was passed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for further investigation.

Paul Booth, UK Border Agency (UKBA) assistant director in Dover, said: “This was an excellent detection by our officers. The tobacco had been well hidden and professionally wrapped in an attempt to evade UK Border Agency controls.

“The smuggling of tobacco and cigarettes is often linked to serious organised crime and can provide the funding for much larger criminal operations such as drug smuggling or people trafficking.”

A UKBA spokeswoman said the seizure had prevented a potential revenue loss to the exchequer of £876,000.

It has also deprived the smugglers of thousands of pounds they would have made selling the tobacco on the black market in the UK, she said.

An HMRC spokeswoman said the driver was arrested and released pending further inquiries.

source: Press Association Ltd.

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