Ipswich/Felixstowe: Cigarette smugglers foiled

File photo dated 25/06/07 of a cigarette being smoked as Smo

EMBARGOED TO 2330 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 14 File photo dated 25/06/07 of a cigarette being smoked as Smoking bans have been linked to a reduction in the number of babies born prematurely, according to new research. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday February 14, 2013. Pregnant women have been subjected to less second-hand smoke since the law banning smoking in public places came into force. Now researchers have shown the benefits of the ban, saying it reduced the risk of pre-term delivery. Premature babies can suffer from significant health problems. See PA story HEALTH Smoke. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire - Credit: PA

An attempt to smuggle 128,000 cigarettes into the UK hidden inside water filters has been foiled in Ipswich by Border Force officers.

Officers discovered the cigarettes when they investigated a shipment of water filter units at an enhanced remote transit shed in Ipswich. Sheds such as this are used to store goods pending their clearance by HM Customs and Revenue.

The units had been shipped into the UK at Felixstowe from Hong Kong before being transported to the shed.

Charlotte Mann, Assistant Director for Border Force at Felixstowe, said: “The fact that we have prevented what was quite an elaborate attempt to circumvent our controls is testament to the hard work and vigilance of our officers.

“The cigarettes had been concealed inside the empty shells of water filter units which had been screwed and glued together.

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“The unpaid duty on these cigarettes would have run into five figures and it is effectively stealing from the public purse and from law-abiding taxpayers.”

Each of the units contained 3,200 Marlboro Light cigarettes. Had the smuggling attempt been successful it could have the cost the Treasury about £22,500 in unpaid excise duty.

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The seizure was made on October 16.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners - as well as visual searches - to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should telephone 0800 59 5000.

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