Contraband including more than 3,500 litres of alcohol was seized across Telford & Shrewsbury on one day last week.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s Trading Standards officers worked with West Mercia Police and HM Revenue & Customs Officers to visit five shops and two self-storage units, leading to seizure of cigarettes, tobacco & alcohol believed to be illegal.
The visits, part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco & alcohol being seized including 25,680 cigarettes, with an estimated £6852 duty and VAT evaded; 18.25 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £3,731 duty and VAT evaded; 3,489 litres of alcohol, with an estimated £5,276 duty and VAT evaded. One car was also seized by Officers.
Paul Fisher, Assistant Director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC said: "The sale of illegal tobacco & alcohol will not be tolerated by us or partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1.3 billion a year".
The owners of the five shops were interviewed by HMRC Officers and investigations are ongoing.
Do you have information about the illegal sale of tobacco, or alcohol? – If so, we would urge you to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.