Thousands of contraband cigarettes seized

09 July 2009

Almost 30,000 counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes were seized in early morning raids in Belfast today as the drive against the multi-million pound a year tobacco fraud continued.

Officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), supported by police, hit eight retail premises in the north of the city in an operation targeting the sale of illicit cigarettes.

As well as the cigarette seizure business records were taken away.

Officers used new hand-held scanning equipment to quickly identify counterfeit or non UK-duty paid tobacco products.

The scanner detects covert security markings on packaging which are invisible to the eye and which give an instant indication of counterfeit or smuggled tobacco.