A two-day operation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco and alcohol in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, has uncovered more than 34,000 cigarettes and 10,000 litres of alcohol, all believed to be illicit.
HMRC officers, supported by Derbyshire Police, Nottinghamshire Police and Derby City Council Trading Standards, visited 25 retail premises on Wednesday 14 October and Thursday 15 October where the suspected illicit products, worth an estimated £25,000 in lost duty and taxes, were recovered. The visits led to suspected illegal tobacco and alcohol being seized from 16 premises.
In Derby the seizures involved:
• 34,100 cigarettes, with an estimated £11,000 duty and VAT evaded
• 9.75 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £2,400 duty and VAT evaded
• 52 litres of spirits, with an estimated £670 duty and VAT evaded
In Nottinghamshire, officers seized 10,000 litres of beer from one shop in Mansfield, with an estimated £9,200 duty and VAT evaded. In addition £21,000 in cash was seized from a retail premises in Worksop, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Stuart Taylor, assistant director, fraud investigation service, 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 per year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.
“We will continue to target this illegal trade at all points from the supply chain to the distribution networks, which is why we would encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.”