Wednesday 22 November 2017

Massive haul of cigarettes seized by customs

Colin Gleeson

NINE million black market cigarettes bound for the UK were seized in Dublin yesterday.

The massive haul of illegal Benson and Hedges packs were stuffed into a container on a ship from China.

A customs spokeswoman said the cigarettes had a potential retail value of €3.8m.

She also said customs could not comment at this stage on whether the illegal cargo was bound for Northern Ireland or Britain -- but the packets carried UK government health warnings.

"For operational reasons, we can't comment any further because the investigation is ongoing," she said.

Customs officers using so-called profiling techniques uncovered the huge stash in a cargo container marked disposable cups. The container was on a ship from China that docked at Dublin Port.

The seizure was part of an operation targeting the supply and sale of illegal tobacco. No one has been arrested.

Retailers Against Smuggling, the representative group for Ireland's tobacco retailers, praised the work of customs officials yesterday.

Benny Gilsenan said: "We would like to congratulate and thank them for their work in this seizure. All we are getting are empty promises and a failure to act by the Government.

"These cigarettes were destined for the black market here in Ireland and could have cost hundreds of people in the retail sector their jobs."

The huge seizure follows the recovery of 28 million illegally imported cigarettes worth €11.8m in Dundalk, Co Louth, in February.

Irish Independent

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