An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco and alcohol in Cardiff and Newport uncovered more than 165,000 cigarettes, 100 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and 400 litres of alcohol.
Around 40 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from Gwent Police, South Wales Police, and Newport and Cardiff Trading Standards officers, visited 100 retail premises, private addresses and self-storage units on 6, 7 and 8 October.
The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to tobacco and alcohol products being seized at 25 locations. These included:
* 130,000 cigarettes in Cardiff, with more than £25,000 duty and VAT evaded;
* 35,000 cigarettes in Newport, with almost £8,000 duty and VAT evaded;
* 100 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco in Cardiff, with around £10,000 duty and VAT evaded, plus a further six kilos in Newport, with £700 duty and VAT evaded;
* 400 litres of wine and vodka from a retail premises in Newport, with £4,000 duty and VAT evaded.
No arrests have been made, and investigations are continuing.
Colin Spinks, 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.”