HMRC intercepts huge tobacco haul worth almost £2million in evaded duty

An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco in Birmingham has uncovered more than 943,000 cigarettes and four tonnes of loose tobacco worth more than £1.7million in evaded duty.

Around 16 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from Wagtails tobacco dogs, visited 53 retail premises and self storage units in the central areas of the city last month.
The visits, led by HMRC Mobile Enforcement Teams, took place between April 10 and April 12 and led to a number of seizures. Investigations are ongoing, but the seizures included:

  • 943,680 cigarettes, with an estimated £353,880 duty and VAT evaded
  • 230 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £69,966 duty and VAT evaded
  • 4.3 tonnes of loose tobacco, with an estimated  £1,313,280 duty and VAT evaded
  • 3,844 litres of beer with an estimated  £3,652 duty and VAT evaded
  • 5.1 litres of vodka with an estimated £68 duty and VAT evaded

Three vehicles were also seized. Paul Fisher, 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.”
Information about any type of tax fraud can also be reported to HMRC online.


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