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Tobacco seized in Blackpool

An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco in Blackpool uncovered more than 28,000 cigarettes and three kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, all believed to be illicit.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) visited 12 retail premises and self storage units in Blackpool on 28 June.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco products being seized from six premises.

This included 28,823 cigarettes and 3.125 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £10,921 duty and VAT evaded.

The activity was part of a wider operation covering Blackpool, Preston and Wigan, which in total seized 44,958 cigarettes and 8.125 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated total of £17,924 duty and VAT evaded.

Tim Atkins, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“The sale of illegal tobacco 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 £2.5 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

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