Illegal tobacco seized in raids in Kettering, Wellingborough and Northampton

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An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco in Northamptonshire saw items worth thousands of pounds seized.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards team, visited 17 retail premises in the areas of Northampton, Wellingborough and Kettering.

The visits, led by HMRC on Tuesday (August 14), led to suspected illegal tobacco products being seized from two premises, although an HMRC spokesman declined to say which towns the premises were in.

Items seized included 25,000 cigarettes, with an estimated £8,404 duty and VAT evaded, and 3kg of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £796 duty and VAT evaded.

Richard Paris, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco 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 £2.5bn a year.

“This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788887.”