Border officials seize millions of cigarettes at Felixstowe
FELIXSTOWE: Border officials have successfully stopped more than four million cigarettes aimed at the black market being smuggled into Britain.
The shipment was found at the Port of Felixstowe hidden in a container from China and bound for London.
Had the smugglers succeeded in their attempts to evade detection, they would have cost the UK about �1m in unpaid VAT and excise duty.
Officers’ attention was drawn to the shipment, which was listed as crockery, by a discrepancy in the documentation and the container was selected for further examination.
When they opened the doors, they found a single row of porcelain plates, bowls and spoons concealing the cigarettes – 2,340,000 Lambert and Butler, 670,000 Benson and Hedges, 940,000 Marlboro Gold and 300,000 Regal.
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Brian Hill, UK Border Agency assistant director at Felixstowe, said: “Cigarette smuggling is not victimless, it is a serious organised crime and we are determined to stop it.
“The likelihood is that these were counterfeit cigarettes, destined to be sold on the black market.
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“Cheap copies are obviously completely unregulated and have been known to contain all manner of unpleasant ingredients.
“Anyone who buys illicit cigarettes has no way of knowing what they are actually getting.
“The only certainty is that further up the supply chain serious criminals are reaping the rewards.”
The cigarettes will now be shredded and the pulp used to generate electricity for the national grid.
? Anyone with information about suspected smuggling activity should call the UK Border Agency on 0800 595 000.