Three men have been arrested in Peterborough on suspicion of smuggling an estimated 8.3 million cigarettes into the UK and evading about £1.5 million in excise duty.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) criminal investigators, assisted by Cambridgeshire Police, arrested the men last Friday morning, 2 August 2013, as the tobacco was being off-loaded from a Hungarian-registered lorry to the south of the city. Two residential properties, one business premises and three vehicles have been searched. Investigations are continuing.
Paul Barton, HMRC Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, said: “Tobacco smuggling undermines legitimate retailers and costs the UK around £1.8 billion a year in lost revenue. Anyone with information about the illegal sale or importation of cigarettes should contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.” The men have been interviewed and released on bail until December 2013.
Notes for editors
1. Those arrested on Friday 2 August, on suspicion of evading excise duty on cigarettes, are:
- 42-year-old man from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
- 49-year-old man from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
- 28-year-old man from Hungary
2. The cigarette brands seized were ‘Bon International’, ‘JIM’ and ‘Gold Classic’. A sample of the tobacco will be analysed shortly.
3. Around 25 Customs and Police officers were involved in Friday’s operation.
4. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.