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HMRC seizes illegal spirits and tobacco in Lambeth

21 February, 2014

More seizures have been made by Customs officers in a clampdown on illegal alcohol and tobacco in south London.

Alcohol and shisha tobacco were seized from independent stores and café lounges in Lambeth, Streatham, and Clapham Common Southside, London, during a series of raids by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), working in partnership with Lambeth Borough Council trading standards officers.

Duty had not been paid on the goods resulting in a revenue loss of around £2,000.

Officers found and seized 50 bottles of whisky and vodka, half a kilo of snuff and chewing tobacco and 12.5kgs of shisha tobacco.

No arrests were made. Investigations are ongoing.

Peter Millroy, assistant director, criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “This illegal trade has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers, who have to compete with black market traders. It’s robbing the UK economy of vital funding and those selling these goods do not promote they are buying them from criminals - the profits of which are funding organised crime to the detriment of all our communities.

“We appeal to local people and businesses to join us in the fight against crime and encourage anyone with information on illegally imported goods, or tax evasion and fraud, to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.”

Cllr Jack Hopkins, cabinet member for safer and stronger neighbourhoods at Lambeth council, said: "We are determined to help get on top of this problem which makes profits for criminals and presents a harm to people's health. Lambeth council will continue to work with HMRC to the benefit of our borough's residents."

The operation was part of an ongoing initiative to reduce crime by HMRC and six London borough councils – Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.





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