Large haul of cigarettes seized at port

Cigarettes hidden in a container of furniture have been seized by UK Border Agency officers at the Port of Felixstowe.

The detection was made at 10am on Friday 27 August when an X-ray scan indicated a discrepancy with the load.

When the container from China, was opened, officers found approximately 20 boxes – containing a total of 800,000 cigarettes – concealed among the furniture.

The consignment was destined for an address in Southend.

If the smugglers had succeeded in evading the UK Border Agency’s controls, they would have cheated the taxpayer out of �177,000 in unpaid duty.

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Bill Form, the UK Border Agency’s Assistant Director at the port, said: “The cigarettes were branded as Benson and Hedges, but we believe they were fakes destined for the black market.

“People who are tempted to buy cheap copies don’t realise that the products they are buying are completely unregulated.

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“They have been known to contain all manner of unpleasant ingredients, including sawdust and rat droppings.

“Smugglers’ profits are also often ploughed straight back into other criminal activities, such as drug and people smuggling.”

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.

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