Thousands of illegal cigarettes seized in raids across Peterborough

editorial image
0
Have your say

An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco in Peterborough has uncovered thousands of illicit cigarettes.

Around 40 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from Peterborough Trading Standards and Cambridgeshire Police, visited 27 retail premises and self storage units in Peterborough, March and Wisbech on September 27 and 28.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco and other products being seized from 19 premises. This included 242,980 cigarettes, with an estimated £65,604 duty and VAT evaded; 34.85 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £7,310 duty and VAT evaded; Three vehicles; 80 cases of beer and 1,100 litres of suspected illicit red diesel and associated equipment.

Peter Gell, head of regulatory services at Peterborough City Council, said: “This was a joint agency operation to seize illicit tobacco being sold around the city.

“The sale of counterfeit goods damages the trade of legitimate sellers. It also leads to tax evasion, which means less money for the Government to spend on services. The suspected duty evaded on the cigarettes and tobacco we seized during these raids alone is £72,000.”

Brett Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.4 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to contact the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Peter Gell, head of regulatory services at Peterborough City Council, said: “This was a joint agency operation to seize illicit tobacco being sold around the city.

“The sale of counterfeit goods damages the trade of legitimate sellers. It also leads to tax evasion, which means less money for the Government to spend on services. The suspected duty evaded on the cigarettes and tobacco we seized during these raids alone is £72,000.”