More than 12 million illegal cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco seized across Yorkshire

More than 12 million illegal cigarettes and two tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized across Yorkshire.

The illegal tobacco, worth more than £5.2 million, has been seized from shops, storage units, lorry trailers and homes across the county between April and December in 2019.

HMRC also seized more than 7,000 litres of illicit alcohol and 52 vehicles illegally running on red diesel, and took action against several registered oil dealers.

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Officers with a tobacco detection dog attended a shop in Armley, Leeds, in November 2019 and found 4,400 illegal cigarettes.

More than 12 million illegal cigarettes and two tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized across Yorkshire.

They also found 1.3 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco.

Another 11,200 illegal cigarettes and 3.1 kilos of tobacco were found in a car parked close to the shop.

The illegal goods, worth £7,187 in unpaid duty, and the car were seized by HMRC.

In Huddersfield, officers seized 411,080 illegal cigarettes and 23 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, worth £161,147 in unpaid duty, from self-storage units in May 2019.

More than 12 million illegal cigarettes and two tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized across Yorkshire.

Eight people were arrested after HMRC officers visited a house in Bradford and uncovered an illicit tobacco packing operation in September 2019. O

Officers found illicit tobacco and cigarettes worth £524,960 in unpaid duty.

The tobacco was kept in unhygienic conditions and sprayed with vinegar to keep it moist.

Officers also found around 120,000 empty tobacco pouches, which if packed and sold, would be worth almost £2 million in unpaid duty.

In October, 85,800 cigarettes and 112 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, worth £66,223 in unpaid duty, were seized from a unit close to York city centre.

Eden Noblett, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Trade in illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime – it takes money away from our vital public services, undermines legitimate traders including small, independent shops that serve local communities, and it is often linked with other serious and organised criminal activity.

"It also makes tobacco far more accessible to children and young people, and exposes them to crime.

“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £1.8 billion a year.

“We are determined to level the playing field for the honest majority by ensuring all businesses and individuals pay the right tax at the right time, and pursuing those who fail to do so.

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