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63-year-old Bexley man arrested by HMRC over tobacco smuggling

PUBLISHED: 16:29 05 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 June 2015

Op Defang

Op Defang

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Four men bailed as cash, tobacco and three vehicles are seized in tobacco raids

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A 63-year-old Bexley man is among four men from London arrested yesterday (Thursday) on suspicion of tobacco smuggling.

Around 60 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), working with Southwark Council Trading Standards officers, visited ten residential and business premises in Bermondsey and Crawley, where the arrests took place.

Around £20,000 in cash, 200,000 cigarettes, 80kgs of hand rolling tobacco and three vehicles were seized during the operation. The estimated revenue loss of the seized tobacco is around £80,000.

Anthony Swarbrick, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “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 over £2 billion a year in stolen revenue. This is theft from the taxpayer and money that should be funding our public services.

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“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

The four men have been interviewed under caution by HMRC and bailed until September 2015.

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