| -2.2°C Dublin

Customs find €12m smokes hidden inside timber cargo

Customs officers have smashed a multi-million-euro cigarette smuggling operation at a business premises today.

About 28 million illegally-imported cigarettes -- worth €11.8m -- were seized during a raid in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Packets of the Regal King Size brand were hidden in the cavity of packs of timber which had been shipped into the country and tracked to the site.

Officers are examining the packs of timber to determine exactly how many packets of cigarettes are concealed.

"They have established that each timber pack examined contains 179,000 cigarettes, but still have to determine if cigarettes are concealed in all of the packs," said a spokeswoman.

The potential loss to the exchequer would be €9.4m.

The seizure follows Europe's largest seizure of smuggled cigarettes, when 120 million were discovered in nearby Greenore dock last October.

Epidemic

Investigations are ongoing to see if they are linked.

Anti-smoking lobby group Ash Ireland said the seizure highlights the serious tobacco smuggling epidemic which is gripping the country.

Dr Angie Brown, chairman, said: "It is imperative that the Government takes further steps to address the issue."

The group says that close to a quarter of cigarettes smoked in this country are non-duty paid in this jurisdiction, costing the exchequer more than €500m annually in lost revenue.

The group says that close to a quarter of cigarettes smoked in this country are non-duty paid in this jurisdiction, costing the exchequer more than €500m annually.

"Customs and Excise needs further additional services to tackle this tobacco smuggling epidemic or the problem will expand rapidly,"Dr Brown added.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy