Customs seize illegal tobacco and booze in NW

Some of the cigarettes seized in Derry.
Some of the cigarettes seized in Derry.

More than 26,000 illicit cigarettes, 7kgs of hand rolling tobacco and over 33 litres of alcohol have been seized in the North West.

The items were recovered during an operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco and alcohol in the region.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers, accompanied by the PSNI, visited a number of commercial premises in Derry on Thursday, June 18, and in Strabane, on June 25, and seized the tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol which are worth an estimated £10,000 in lost duty.

A car was also seized during the operation.

Mike Parkinson, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, says “Tobacco fraud is organised crime on a global scale, encouraging and supporting criminality within our communities.

“Criminals are not providing a service, they are robbing taxpayers of billions each year in unpaid duty and taxes and undercutting legitimate local businesses who can’t compete with these illegal products.

“We urge anyone with information about the transport, storage or sale of suspected illicit tobacco to contact us on the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Investigations into the seizures are continuing.