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Over 7,000 illegal cigarettes seized in five Lincoln city centre raids

By SMorris_LE  |  Posted: January 16, 2013

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More than 7,000 illicit white cigarettes manufactured for the smuggling market have been seized in a HM Revenue and Customs raid on five Lincoln city centre premises on Tuesday, January 15.

The joint operation between HMRC, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police, discovered that three out of the five premises were found to have quantities of the illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.

The other two premises had illegal foreign-labelled medicines and issues with out of date food.

They were all on either High Street, Newark Road or Portland Street.

Some of the items had been concealed in specially adapted compartments under the counter but with the help of a tobacco-detection dog they were found.

Others were found hidden in carrier bags.

Clare Merrills, spokesperson for HMRC, said: “Low cost tobacco and alcohol products can often seem very attractive to local people, lured into purchasing them at what seem like bargain prices.

"However, the truth is these goods have been smuggled and these sales are unlicensed and unregulated.

"Those involved are not concerned if they are selling to children and underage young people and the illicit trade has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers and the local community."

Among the cigarette brands were Jin Ling, L+M and Master. It is estimated the lost duty is around £2,400.

The goods have been smuggled and the sales are unlicensed and unregulated.

They are usually sold illegally in residential areas, pubs and clubs and some small independent retail shops.

Emma Milligan, senior trading standards officer in Lincoln, said: "Illegally-imported cigarettes and alcohol costs the UK taxpayer more than £3bn every year, but this isn’t just about lost revenue.

"Our investigations can often reveal fake booze and fags that have the potential to harm or even kill.

"That’s why our work is so vital and we will never hesitate to take action against these criminals.”

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  • nigelsparky  |  January 17 2013, 10:26PM

    Wait till Bulgaria and Romania join the EU!! Lock up your Swans people!!!

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  • Phil1W  |  January 17 2013, 3:03PM

    I wish I could get diesel under the counter. The Dick ******s in government slap enough tax on that and petrol as well!

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  • Pete67  |  January 17 2013, 6:21AM

    davidiscool1 - Why shouldn't the Government be blamed for this? It's the Government who are OVER TAXING on things like this. If things weren't overpriced the bootleggers wouldn't get a sniff. It tends to be Human nature to make as much money as possible, but when over-greed comes in to play there's always someone to undercut - smugglers, counterfeiters or sellers. As for the swans it was proved in one of the major papers who was killing them for food, but the Government keeps saying we need them here to pay tax.

  • FreedomSpeech  |  January 16 2013, 10:17PM

    I too blame the government. The one that allowed our borders to be opened to hundreds of thousands of immigrants, many of whom appear to have little or no respect for the laws of the country that has allowed them residence.

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  • davidiscool1  |  January 16 2013, 9:46PM

    Why blame the government for this? We shouldn't be excusing greedy mindless criminals because of government policy. You'll be telling me next that these shops and the people who shop in them are also linked to swans going missing on the brayford for food - surely this couldn't be the case?

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  • Lincoln_Fan  |  January 16 2013, 7:28PM

    And if the Government insist on introducing standardised packaging that amount will appear as a mere drop in the ocean. We are on track to increase dangerous products like this and the Government appears very keen for this to happen.

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  • Pete67  |  January 16 2013, 6:10PM

    Just think how much tax could be taken if the tax charged were not so much, and undercut the bootleggers. Mind if they make a packs the same it'll make it easier, and cheaper still for the bootleggers. The intelligence of the Government astounds me.

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