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Illegal tobacco factory discovered

Officers raided the tobacco factory Credit: HMRC

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."

Man ordered to pay for smuggling tobacco

A Nottingham man has been sentenced for evading close to £21,000 in excise duty, after smuggling 100kg of hand-rolling tobacco into Portsmouth Ferry Port. He was ordered to repay the duty within six months - or face 15 months in prison and still owe the money.

Paul Adlington concealed the tobacco within internal panelling of his Ford Transit van. He was arrested by Border Force officers at the city's continental ferry port in August, and pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday 10 January.

“It is important that we pursue criminals’ profits through the courts and recover money for UK taxpayers. This type of crime not only undermines legitimate retailers who have to compete with illegal imports, but also costs the UK economy around £2billion a year. People with information about tobacco smuggling should contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

– John Cooper, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation at HMRC

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Sussex dogs sniff out illegal tobacco

Top dog Bradley and Trading Standards Officer Roger Cohen Credit: East Sussex County Council

A cocker spaniel named Bradley helped Trading Standards officers uncover thousands of illegal cigarettes in Hastings and Eastbourne. Bradley is one of three sniffer dogs looking for fake tobacco products. Sussex in the first county in the South East to use dogs to detect illegal tobacco.