Illegal tobacco and fake goods sniffed out by customs team

Daily Echo: £40,000 of fake goods and cigarettes seized £40,000 of fake goods and cigarettes seized

Nearly £40,000 of illegal tobacco and counterfeit goods have been seized by Hampshire County Council Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in a joint operation.

A sniffer dog detected nearly 4kg of hand rolling tobacco and cigarettes and another 1kg was voluntarily surrendered. Officers from Trading Standard’s Fair Trading Team also confiscated hundreds of fake designer handbags, clothing, DVDs and watches which would have had a street value of more than £36,000.

The illegal tobacco had a street value of around £1,580 and amounted to £970 in lost tax revenue.

The joint Hampshire County Council and HMRC operation took place on Sunday 15 December at Blackbushe Market on the Hampshire/Surrey border. Blackbushe is one of the largest outdoor Sunday markets in the country.

Previous intelligence and a voluntary handover of illegal tobacco led to one seller being formally warned and banned from the market earlier in the year, but further information and increasing seizures of illegal tobacco across the UK led to this joint exercise.

Officers reported that the tobacco was found concealed in vehicles associated with the stalls and were discovered with the aid of a tobacco detector dog. Sniffer dog Phoebe and her handler Stuart Phillips were supplied to the operation by Dog Detection specialists B.W.Y Canine.

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council said: "The sale of illegal tobacco is a serious criminal offence. These criminal activities severely damage the local economy and legitimate traders by gaining a competitive advantage at their expense, and taking trade away from genuine hard-working businesses. As it becomes harder for under 18s to buy from legitimate sources, illegal tobacco trading creates a cheap source that fuels smoking by young people, giving them habits that put their health at risk into adulthood.”

Bob Gaiger, HMRC spokesman for Hampshire and Surrey, said: “HMRC works with other law enforcement agencies to target anyone we suspect is selling or smuggling illicit tobacco. We relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be involved in this type of criminal activity. It is not a victimless crime and undermines the efforts of legitimate traders.”

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:14pm Thu 19 Dec 13

hulla baloo says...

Who are the robbers? street value of 1580 and the tax revenue is 970.
Who are the robbers? street value of 1580 and the tax revenue is 970. hulla baloo

8:38pm Thu 19 Dec 13

derek james says...

they'll leave no stone unturned if someone try's to defraud the revenue, pity they're not so quick off the mark when your house get's burgled, would they use private dog specialists? not likely!
they'll leave no stone unturned if someone try's to defraud the revenue, pity they're not so quick off the mark when your house get's burgled, would they use private dog specialists? not likely! derek james

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree