Police and customs officers seize 44,000 cigarettes and six kilos of tobacco in Northampton raids

Goods found in two premises near town centre believed to be illicit worth around £20,000 in duty

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 11:48 am

Police and customs offices seized more than 44,000 cigarettes and nearly six kilos of tobacco during raids in Northampton.

The swoops on two premises near the town centre, understood to be in Kettering Road, were part of a joint operation, also involving Trading Standards, targeting an operation selling and supplying illegal tobacco.

Together, the 44,030 cigarettes and 5.7 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco — believed to be illicit — is worth an estimated £20,185 in duty.

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Police and customs officers seized more than 2,000 packets of cigarettes during raids in Northampton

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Watkins of Northamptonshire Police said: “Selling illicit tobacco and other non-duty paid goods may seem like a victimless crime but that is a misconception.

“Illegal goods are often dangerous and could seriously damage people’s health because they don’t go through the same testing processes as legal products.

“This type of crime often also hides a much larger and wider criminality as well with illicit tobacco having links to serious and organised crime — the tackling of which is an absolute priority for Northamptonshire Police.”

Richard Paris, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, added: “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 £2.3 billion a year.

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

“We work closely with the police, trading standards, local authorities and international law enforcement, and have cut by a third the market in illicit cigarettes since 2000 and halved the hand-rolling tobacco market over the same period.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

HMRC and Northamptonshire Police were supported by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit’s Regional Disruption Team.