Students in Cardiff are being warned not to get involved in cigarette smuggling after parcels containing non-duty paid foreign brands were seized by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

In the last week, officers have seized 45 parcels of illegal cigarettes destined for student properties in the Cathays area of Cardiff. The consignments of Chinese ’illicit whites’ – brands such as Nan Jing, Eight and Ten – are not legally sold in the UK. Enquiries suggest that smugglers are persuading students to use their addresses for the deliveries.

Colin Spinks, assistant director, HMRC said: “Our investigations suggest that students are allowing their addresses to be used for deliveries of illegal cigarettes. In doing so, they directly aid criminality and risk a criminal record themselves.

“Cigarette smuggling isn’t a victimless crime. Shopkeepers selling legitimate, duty-paid products are harmed by this unfair competition and the buyers of these lower-quality cheap imports purchase a completely unregulated product. The evaded duty impacts directly on public services that we all use every day. A ‘cheap smoke’ is no bargain.”

Anyone with information about cigarette or tobacco smuggling can tell HMRC by calling the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.