Ferry swoop on millions of cigarettes

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ALMOST six million contraband cigarettes have been seized on a ferry at the port of Hull.

A specialist team of Border Force officers discovered the haul on an unaccompanied trailer which arrived on a ferry from Rotterdam last Thursday.

The load was supposed to contain “kindergarten equipment” but was instead full of boxes of cigarettes.

The find was made less than three weeks after the seizure of more than 10 million contraband cigarettes at Immingham and marks another significant success for border officers.

The 5,760,000 cigarettes found in the trailer would have cost more than £1.4m in unpaid duty.

Border Force spokesman Sam Bullimore said: “We will continue to make life as tough as possible for those people who seek to smuggle cigarettes into the UK.

“This is not a victimless crime, as it defrauds the public purse out of huge sums of money and undercuts those traders who ply an honest trade.

“Anyone who chooses to buy counterfeit cigarettes may also be contributing to the funding of serious organised crime groups.

“We have expert and experienced staff who, supported by sniffer dogs and the latest technology, work round the clock to keep our border secure.”

The shipment will now be destroyed.

In the financial year 2010-11, the agency seized more than 650 million cigarettes and 314.7 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco at the UK border.

In September more than £6.5m of cocaine hidden on coal ships by Colombian drug cartels was uncovered, and in August about £5m worth of the same drug was discovered on a cargo ship at the port.