Huge haul of illicit tobacco worth £20k seized in Northampton

Counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco seized from Maidenhead stores
Representative Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

Police and customs offices seized more than 44,000 cigarettes and nearly six kilos of tobacco during raids in two premises in Northampton, stated recent reports.

The two premises are reportedly in Kettering Road from where officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), working alongside Northamptonshire Police and Trading Standards, seized the cigarettes and tobacco near Northampton town centre on Nov 17 2021.

The team seized 44,030 cigarettes and 5.7 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco — believed to be illicit — worth an estimated £20,185 in duty, said Northamptonshire police.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Watkins of Northamptonshire Police said, “Selling illicit tobacco and other non-duty paid goods may seem like a victimless crime but that is a misconception.

“Illegal goods are often dangerous and could seriously damage people’s health because they don’t go through the same testing processes as legal products.

“This type of crime often also hides a much larger and wider criminality as well with illicit tobacco having links to serious and organised crime- the tackling of which is an absolute priority for Northamptonshire Police.”

HMRC and Northamptonshire Police were supported by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit’s Regional Disruption Team.

Richard Paris, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, added: “The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.

“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.3 billion a year.

Earlier this month, two shops in the north of the county, Alma Express in Montagu Street, Kettering, and Rogalik in Midland Road, Wellingborough, have had their licences revoked after being found to be selling illicit tobacco following two separate licencing hearings.