Press release -
Five arrested during suspected cigarette smuggling operation
Five men from Newcastle Upon Tyne have been arrested by officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after an investigation into the suspected illegal importation of seven million cigarettes.
The men, from Heaton, Gateshead and Elswick, were arrested on Tuesday 1st October at an industrial unit in Darlington after customs officers intercepted a lorry carrying seven million duty free cigarettes, which had been described as barbeque equipment.
The cigarettes are estimated to be worth £1.5 million in unpaid excise duty and VAT.
HMRC Assistant Director Jo Tyler said:
“These men have been arrested on suspicion of the fraudulent evasion of duty. We urge anyone with information about people dealing in illicit cigarettes and tobacco in the North East to contact us on 0800 59 5000.”
The men have been questioned by officers from HMRC and released on bail pending further enquires.
Notes for editors
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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.