Officers seize 53million fake cigarettes

RACKETEERS have been dealt a massive blow after 53 million counterfeit cigarettes were seized at Felixstowe docks in just three weeks.The scale of international smuggling plots by organised crime gangs was revealed after the record number of seizures were made by customs officers.

RACKETEERS have been dealt a massive blow after 53 million counterfeit cigarettes were seized at Felixstowe docks in just three weeks.

The scale of international smuggling plots by organised crime gangs was revealed after the record number of seizures were made by customs officers.

Laid end-to-end the illegal cigarettes would stretch just over 3,000 miles, almost the distance from England to America and would have fetched around £7,950,000 on the black market.

The majority of the seizures came in from Asia.


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Seven million of the contraband were found in a container from Chiwan in China. The goods were described as scarves, hats and gloves and arrived in Felixstowe on November 21. When customs officers opened the boxes and found only a few contained the declared goods and the rest contained cigarettes.

The following day around 9m cigarettes were discovered in a container that had been shipped from Port Kelang in Malaysia. The documentation described the contents as triple coil heaters which were destined for Rotterdam.

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On November 24 approximately 8m cigarettes were discovered in another consignment from Chiwan. The contents of the container were again described as scarves, hats and gloves.

Another seizure of approximately 2m were heading for the west London markets. They were seized on November 25 and had come in under the cover load of metal furniture. They had also been shipped from Port Kelang.

Kevin Sayer HM Revenue and Customs detection manager at Felixstowe said: “We have again succeeded in removing millions of illicit tobacco products from our streets and will continue in our efforts to remove more.”

No arrests have been made relating to the seizures, but customs officers said inquiries are ongoing.

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