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."
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.
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.
Large shops and supermarkets throughout the region have removed their tobacco displays today. The government wants to curb the number of young people taking up smoking. Cigarettes and other products will be kept below the counter. A fifth of adults still smoke, despite health warnings.