September 23 2014 Latest news:
Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Thursday, September 4, 2014
More than eight million cigarettes were seized in a raid by HM Revenue and Customs which has lead to the arrest of a man from Forest Gate.
He was among three men arrested on suspicion of smuggling tobacco and cigarettes worth an estimated £2.4 million following a raid into a suspected tobacco smuggling plot.
HMRC Officers, supported by Essex Police and the National Crime Agency, also seized 30kg of shisha tobacco as it was being unloaded from a container on August 20 at farmland in Abridge, Essex.
The haul had arrived in the UK through London Gateway Docks from Dubai.
Officers also searched premises in Loughton, Essex, and east London, seizing computers, mobile phones and paperwork.
The three men, two from Loughton, Essex, and one from Forest Gate, all in their late 40s, were arrested on suspicion of tobacco smuggling under the Customs and Management Act 1979. They have been bailed until November 27 2014.
Martin Brown, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: “Tobacco crime undermines legitimate producers and retailers, costs the UK taxpayer around £2 billion a year in lost revenue and has a serious and detrimental impact on our communities.
“We encourage anyone with information about tobacco smuggling and fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.” Chief Inspector Jon Hayter, of Essex Police, said: “Essex Police regularly works with and supports other agencies. This was a successful result and an example of effective partnership work.”