Smoked out: Illicit cigarettes and tobacco seized in West Yorkshire raids

More than 100,000 illicit cigarettes and 17 kilos of illicit hand rolling tobacco were seized in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire during a two-day operation by revenue and customs teams.

Some of the tobacco seized in the HMRC operation.
Some of the tobacco seized in the HMRC operation.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) visited 65 retail premises in, Huddersfield, Halifax, Scunthorpe and Grimsby on 11 and 12 October in a bid to disrupt the supply and sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco products being seized from 25 premises.

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In Huddersfield and Halifax, 89,600 cigarettes were seized, which represented an estimated £24,069 of tobacco duty evaded, and 11.2 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco.

In Scunthorpe and Grimsby on 11 October, 14,450 cigarettes, worth an estimated £3,881 duty evaded, were found, along with 6.2 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, 12.2 kilos of shisha tobacco and 7,944 litres of illicit beer and wine.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: "The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol 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 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“I encourage anyone with information on illicit tobacco to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

British Gas investigators also found gas and electric irregularities at four premises in Scunthorpe and Grimsby. A £26,000 bill was issued at one premises in Scunthorpe.