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HMRC Cracks Down On Bootleggers

by Robert Lee,, London

29 December 2010

As part of a crackdown against traders selling counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes and alcohol HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers have been visiting a number of commercial and private addresses in the North West of England where nearly 17m cigarettes, over 260,100 litres of illegal alcohol and 1,650 kilos of other tobacco products have been seized.

Graham Forbes, HMRC Special Investigations Manager said: “With an estimated GBP2bn in revenue being drained from the public purse each year by tobacco fraud alone, the problem is a real one, which we are determined to crack. We have active and effective teams of officers operating across the North West to disrupt this illicit trade which has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers having to compete against these black market traders, particularly at Christmas, one of the busiest times of the year.

“Our officers have seized illicit cigarettes and alcohol in pubs, social clubs, off-licences, markets, tobacconists, newsagents, confectioners, as well as in some very unlikely locations such as farms, garden centres, fast food outlets including mobile burger vans and on one occasion even from the boot of a taxi cab.”

He added: “We are keen to work closely with local people and communities in the fight against this type of crime and would encourage anyone who knows of someone selling cheap or duty free cigarettes and alcohol to contact the Customs hotline”.

TAGS: tax | law | United Kingdom | excise duty | enforcement | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | trade

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