45,000 cigarettes seized in illegal tobacco operation

Th econfiscated tobacco
Th econfiscated tobacco
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An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco in Blackpool uncovered more than 45,000 cigarettes and 17.6 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, all believed to be illicit.

Around 13 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from Blackpool Trading Standards and Lancashire Police Licensing, visited five retail premises in Blackpool Town Centre and North Shore on Friday 27 September.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco products being seized from three premises.

This included 45,140 cigarettes, with an estimated £22,797 duty and VAT evaded, and 17.6 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £2,718 duty and VAT evaded.

Trading Standards also seized 414 counterfeit USB charger cables.

Elaine Davies, Business Unit Head, Taskforce and Specialist Compliance, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco 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. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”