Cambridgeshire home searched in smuggling operation

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A home in Cambridgeshire has been searched by revenue and customs officers as part of an investigation into a suspected £22 million tobacco smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering fraud.

Six men have been arrested and a number of other properties searched in the national operation.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), carried out simultaneous searches of 11 premises in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, London and the West Midlands this morning, in an investigation codenamed Operation Nipper.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: “This is a wide ranging investigation into suspected tobacco excise duty and VAT evasion, and associated money laundering.

“The smuggling, transport, storage, or sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by HMRC. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs UK taxpayers around £2.1 billion a year.

“We encourage anyone with information about suspicious tobacco or cigarette products to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

During the operation a number of vehicles and paperwork were seized.

Four men from Essex, one from Hertfordshire and one from the West Midlands were arrested.

Along with the Cambridgeshire home, properties in Essex, Derbyshire, the West Midlands, Hertfordshire and London were searched.