Border Force officers have seized 4.25 million cigarettes at Belfast Docks.
The suspected counterfeit cigarettes were discovered on Thursday 31 May when officers selected a container that had arrived from China via Rotterdam for closer examination.
A search of the container revealed the cigarettes that were packed in cardboard boxes marked coffee machines. Markings on the cigarette packets suggest that they were destined for sale in the Republic of Ireland.
The duty evaded on the cigarettes is estimated to be approximately £1 million.
The container was destined for a business address in Northern Ireland but no further details will be released while enquiries continue.
Paul Tunney from Border Force said:
“Border Force officers are on constant alert to keep contraband goods and other banned substances out of the UK.
“Anyone who smuggles tobacco for commercial gain is effectively stealing from the public purse and from law-abiding taxpayers.
“The money from this kind of smuggling is often recycled into other forms of organised crime.”
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call the Border Force hotline on 0800 59 5000.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office responsible for protecting the UK border. Border Force was created on 1 March 2012 after being separated from the UK Border Agency. Border Force is responsible for entry controls and customs functions at the border, including our juxtaposed controls in France and Belgium, covering responsibilities including immigration and security checks, prevention of people trafficking, anti-smuggling of banned and restricted goods including drugs and weapons and protection of border revenue. The UK Border Agency continues to be responsible for immigration casework, in-country enforcement activity, the immigration detention estate and overseas immigration and visa operations.
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