Cigarette Smugglers 'Smoked-Out'

There was news today of continued successes on both sides of the Irish border and in England to counter the smuggling of cigarettes.

Customs officers have seized 8.5m smuggled cigarettes in Belfast with staff from the UK Border Agency uncovering the haul of Regal King Size cigarettes. It was hidden behind boxes in a cargo that had arrived at Belfast docks. HM Revenue & Customs said one man from Co Tyrone was arrested but has been released without charge.

The cigarettes were smuggled from China and were concealed behind boxes lined with carbon paper in an attempt to evade detection by x-ray scanning equipment.

If it had not been intercepted, the smuggling operation would have cost an estimated duty evasion of £1.91m.

Meanwhile two men from Co Derry who were arrested in connection with one of the largest ever international cigarette smuggling operations have been released on bail. A third man from England remains in police custody.

The operation allegedly involves the manufacture and smuggling of cigarettes from the Far East into the UK and the Republic.

The arrests were made following the search of premises by Revenue and Customs officers in Co Londonderry and by the Criminal Assets Bureau in counties Cork, Meath and Louth.

Premises in Cambridgeshire in England were also searched during the operation.

The Irish Republic's Criminal Assets Bureau searches netted important documentation.

According to a spokesman for Gardaí, the data was seized during the course of the operation, which is part of an international investigation into the smuggling of cigarettes.

See: Labour Call For Quicker CAB Seizure Powers


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