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Thursday 14 November 2019

Cross-border sting nets eight million illegal cigarettes

Steven McCaffery

Eight million cigarettes have been seized in Co Armagh in a cross-border security operation against the illegal tobacco trade.

Officers swooped on commercial premises as the cigarettes, thought to have originated in Dubai, were being unloaded from a 40ft trailer into a warehouse.

Customs officials from both sides of the border, plus Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers, were involved in the operation.

Two men arrested as part of the investigation have been released on bail.

John Whiting, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation at HM Revenue & Customs, said: "Tobacco smuggling is organised crime on a global scale with huge profits ploughed straight back into the criminal underworld, feeding activities like drug dealing, people smuggling and fraud.

"Purchasing cheap cigarettes without the duty paid on them means trading with criminals, and undermining honest businesses.

"This criminal activity undermines public health by creating a cheap and unregulated supply."

Officials declined to reveal further details on the location of the raid.

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