Counterfeit cigarettes seized

MORE than four million counterfeit cigarettes have been seized after they were found concealed in a consignment of fireworks.

MORE than four million counterfeit cigarettes have been seized at Felixstowe port after they were found concealed in a consignment of fireworks.

UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers made the discovery after examining the containers, each of which was also packed with four tonnes of fireworks.

Some of the cigarettes were hidden in the outer cartons and others in boxes described as fireworks in an attempt to disguise them.

Jim Jarvie from UKBA said: “This is an excellent result and an example of good joint working with other agencies including HM Revenue and Customs, Health and Safety Executive and Trading Standards.

“We will continue to tackle the smugglers who attempt to bring illegal goods into the UK however they are disguised.

“Smugglers are criminals who are only out to make a profit. They do not care about the harm that they cause by smuggling whether its dangerous drugs, counterfeit cigarettes or illegal immigrants.

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“Therefore I would encourage members of the public who know of any suspicious activity around selling duty free cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco to contact our hotline on 0800 595000.”

In total, officers recovered more than nine million cigarettes. The duty lost is estimated at £2million.

The containers all originated in China and were destined for markets in Merseyside.

No arrests have been made but enquiries are on going.

A spokesman for UKBA said: “Fake cigarettes can often seem like an attractive offer but the startling truth is these unregulated cigarettes can contain a seriously unhealthy mix of cancer-causing chemicals including arsenic, cadmium, benzene and formaldehyde, far greater than the genuine product.

“In addition they have also been found to contain sawdust, tobacco beetles and even rat droppings.

“With expertly crafted packaging it is almost impossible to spot counterfeit cigarettes until you experience the ill effects from smoking them due to the highly toxic set of ingredients they contain.”

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