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HMRC uncovers contraband at retail premises

27 May, 2015

An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of suspected illegal tobacco and alcohol in Derby uncovered almost 20,000 cigarettes, nearly 10 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and 123 litres of alcohol.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Derby City Council Trading Standards visited six retail premises in the city on Thursday 21 May.

The visits led to non-UK duty paid tobacco and alcohol products being seized from five premises. This included:

• 19,480 cigarettes, with a suspected £6,253 duty and VAT evaded;

• 9.5 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with a suspected £2,330 duty and VAT evaded; and

• 123 litres of wine, with a suspected £403 duty and VAT evaded.

HMRC officers also visited three outlets in Long Eaton, leading to further non-UK duty paid tobacco products being seized from two premises. This included:

• 3,640 cigarettes, with a suspected £1,117 duty and VAT evaded; and

• 3.35 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with a suspected £791 duty and VAT evaded.

Two tobacco dogs and their handlers helped officers uncover cigarettes hidden in various parts of the shops. All the goods have been seized and investigations are ongoing.

Stuart Taylor, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol 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 £2bn a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1bn a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.”

Keywords: HMRC, tobacco, alcohol

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