Large amount of contraband tobacco seized by police

Police issued this picture of the seized tobacco

DETECTIVES from Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Organised Crime Unit have seized a large quantity of contraband tobacco, they revealed on Friday.

Detective Inspector Pete Mullan said: “On Wednesday, 7 October officers from PSNI Organised Crime Unit searched a car in the Shore Road area of Belfast and discovered a large quantity of contraband tobacco. As a result of this find, a house was also searched in the same area where a further quantity of tobacco was seized.”

On Thursday, 9 October officers seized a further quantity of tobacco.

Detective Inspector Mullan continued: ” The cost of duty lost on this tobacco is £75,440, money that should be going back into the local economy.

“Be under no illusion there is no such thing as a victimless crime. If you purchase illegal products you are depriving local traders of the chance to earn an honest living. The only person profiting from this type of crime is the persons selling the goods.

“Police along with our colleagues in HMRC will continue to disrupt those who are intent on trading in illicit goods.

“If you have any information about criminality please contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or ‘999’ in an emergency, or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/

Steve Tracey, 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 £1.9 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“Anyone with information about this type of crime can report it to HMRC online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

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