Manningtree: Cigarette smugglers arrested
A PLOT to smuggle more than 30,000 cigarettes into the country through an Essex port has been foiled by boarder officials.
Two men were arrested on Tuesday for smuggling after they were caught trying to move the consignment of cigarettes from a boat moored at Mistley Quay, near Manningtree.
Officers from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Essex Police stopped one of the men in his car after he was spotted attempting to leave the area.
During a search they discovered approximately 30,000 cigarettes in the boot of the vehicle on which the duty, worth about �7,000, had not been paid.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers were called in to investigate the smuggling attempt and enquiries are continuing.
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The driver of the vehicle, a 45 year old man from Sittingbourne, Kent, was arrested together with a second man from the vessel. Both men are being questioned by HMRC investigators.
The cigarettes found in the car and an additional 10,000 cigarettes that were found during a search of the vessel have been seized.
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Also seized was �3,500 in cash which was found during a house search conducted by police at an address in Kent.
Bob Gaiger, a spokesman for HMRC, said: “This is another example of how enforcement agencies work together to foil attempts to smuggle goods into the UK along our coastline.
“We urge local people to work more closely with us in the fight against crime and we encourage anyone who is aware of illicit cigarettes or tobacco being smuggled into or sold in the UK to contact the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email email@example.com.
“This type of crime is depriving the public purse of around �3 billion a year in lost revenue.”