An illegal tobacco processing factory has been discovered at an industrial unit in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire.
Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raided the tobacco factory where they found around a tonne of tobacco, along with counterfeit tobacco pouches, duty labels and processing machinery.
The factory was discovered after HMRC investigators arrested two men at a Warwickshire Police-led road check at Warwick Services on the M40 on 17 November, where a van containing around half a tonne of processed tobacco was found.
John Cooper, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC said: "Working closely with our partners at Warwickshire Police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, we have uncovered and closed down an illegal tobacco processing operation. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.1 billion a year in lost revenue."
Thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized in raids across Southampton. Over 100 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were involved in the operation, with support from Hampshire Police, Southampton City Council Trading Standards, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force officers. Two specialist Border Force tobacco dogs were also deployed. Investigators visited 19 retail premises across the city. They seized more than 8,000 cigarettes, 5.7 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and 500 litres of alcohol. It is estimated around £8,500 of duty and VAT may have been evaded.
In one shop officers found a baggy overcoat with individual packets of cigarettes and tobacco hidden inside the lining, sleeves and pockets. At another store tobacco was concealed under papers in a newspaper stand.
John Cooper, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated. 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. We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
If you haven’t yet sent in your 2012/13 tax return, remember to do it online to avoid a penalty.
Nearly two million people in the South East have to file a Self Assessment return every year.
You must do it online by 31 Jan 2014 and you must be registered for HMRC Online Services.
If you send HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) a paper tax return from November onwards, you’ll receive a £100 late filing penalty – even if you have no tax to pay, or you pay your tax bill on time. This is because the 31 October deadline for 2012/13 paper tax returns has now passed.
This involves HMRC sending you an Activation Code in the post, so allow time for this to arrive. To register for HMRC Online Services go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/online and follow the on-screen instructions.
Ten men have been arrested by HM & Revenue Customs officers investigating a freight warehouse at Heathrow. The site is believed to have been be used for cigarette and drug smuggling. The HMRC said the arrests sent a clear message to would-be smugglers.
The ten arrested men have been released without charge until September pending further inquiries.
Customs officers investigating a freight warehouse at Heathrow believed to have been used for cigarette and drug smuggling, have arrested ten men - from Southall, Frimley, Stanmore, West Drayton, High Wycombe, Luton, Forest Gate and Manchester.
The ten men have been released on bail without charge until September, pending further inquiries. Around 90 investigators from HMRC, working with officers from Border Force, searched the warehouse in Heathrow.
The officers also searched eight residential and three business properties in Frimley in Surrey; Southall, Stanmore and West Drayton in Middlesex; High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and Luton in Bedfordshire. During the investigation the following items were seized:
- Six kilos of crystal amphetamine with an estimated street value of £180,000
- Approximately £54,000 in cash
- One LDV high top van
- Two HGV lorries
- A quantity of Kamagra jelly
- Computers, mobile phones and business records.