Felixstowe: Over 800,000 fake cigarettes seized at port

More than 800,000 fake cigarettes have been seized at the Port of Felixstowe by UK Border Agency officials.

The haul – with an estimated retail value of �250,000 - was discovered hidden in divans and mattresses in a container which had been shipped from China.

Officers’ attention was drawn to the shipment by a discrepancy in its documentation.

When the container was opened on Monday, detection staff were confronted with several rows of mattresses and divan bases.

About three quarters of the way into the container however, smugglers had concealed 21 large cardboard boxes containing cartons of cigarettes marked Benson & Hedges Gold.

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Brian Hill, the UK Border Agency Assistant Director at Felixstowe, said: “By making this detection we have hit the smugglers where it hurts them the most – in the pocket.

“Profits made from cigarette smuggling are often used to fund other criminal enterprises like drug or people trafficking.

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“Make no mistake, this is serious organised crime and we are determined to stamp it out.

“These items are almost certainly counterfeit and therefore present an even greater health risk than legitimate cigarettes.

“Clearly, there is no kind of quality control around fake products like these and it is not uncommon to find that the tobacco has been bulked up with all sorts of unpleasant ingredients.”

The cigarettes will now be shredded and the pulp burned to generate electricity for the national grid.

Anyone with information about suspected smuggling activity should call the UK Border Agency on 0800 595 000.

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