Five men have been arrested during a raid by officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigating a suspected £6m cigarette smuggling fraud across the Peterborough and Spalding areas.

Around 100 HMRC investigators, assisted by Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire police and Peterborough Trading Standards, carried out over 30 searches of residential properties, local shops and warehouse storage units.

Richard Las, HMRC’s deputy director for criminal investigation, said: “This operation is an HMRC-led investigation targeting suspected cigarette smuggling and money laundering offences, centred on Peterborough and Spalding. We cannot provide any further information as the investigation is continuing.

“Our activity today sends out a clear message to those involved in this type of criminality. Attempts to import, distribute and sell tobacco goods on which UK duty has not been paid are treated extremely seriously by HMRC, and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be involved.”

“You can report anyone you suspect may be selling illegal tobacco goods by calling our 24 hour Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

All five men have been bailed.