Illegal cigarettes found in North Wales raids
A massive three-day operation to crack down on the illegal sale of tobacco has uncovered more than 1.6 million cigarettes, 700 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and 3,000 litres of alcohol. Some 55 retail premises, private addresses and self-storage units from 15 locations across Flintshire, Wrexham, Conwy and Denbighshire were stormed by officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from North Wales Police the UK Border Agency and Trading Standards. The haul that was seized includes:* 1,646,000 cigarettes, with a potential £545,700 duty and VAT evaded * 700 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with a potential £170,800 duty and VAT evaded * 3000 litres of alcohol, with a potential £38,600 duty and VAT evaded The activity was carried out over July 14, 15 and 16 in the Wrexham, Rhyl, Llandudno, Flint, Deeside, Mold, Holywell and Caernarfon areas. Eight tobacco dogs and their handlers also worked on the operation. Colin Spinks, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol 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 billion a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1 billion per year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.”
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