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NEARLY three tonnes of tobacco was seized by officers investigating a £500,000 tax evasion.

HM Revenue and Customs have charged six people after the haul of hand rolling tobacco was seized from a house in Southampton.

HMRC say the estimated excise duty evaded is around £560,000.

The property was raided following an HMRC investigation alongside officers Sussex Police and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Tian Yang, 37, Shu Lan Lin, 41, Hua Wang, 37, Yun Wang, 30, Hui Xue, 24, and Jia Min Shi, 25, were charged on suspicion of the fraudulent evasion of excise duty at Southampton Central police station.

All six were arrested on Tuesday and they have since appeared at Southampton Magistrates' Court.

They have been remanded in custody until May 2.

A 33-year-old man from Maidstone, Kent, was arrested by Sussex Police officers on suspicion of money laundering.

The officers seized £6,900 in cash.

He was later released on bail until July 27 as enquiries continue.

A 35-year-old man from Somptin, West Sussex, was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering and was released on bail until July 28 as enquiries continue.