Three men and a woman have been arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in connection with an investigation into a suspected £500,000 tobacco smuggling fraud.

HMRC, accompanied by officers from Norfolk Police, Immigration Enforcement and trading standards, searched three business addresses, two private addresses and a storage unit in the Great Yarmouth area.

As part of the operation officers seized 150,000 illicit cigarettes and a quantity of hand rolling tobacco. Investigations are continuing, the four people arrested were interviewed by HMRC and have been since been bailed.

Paul Barton, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “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 £2.1bn a year.

“We encourage anyone with information about suspicious tobacco or cigarette products to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.”