Smuggled tobacco seized at Stansted Airport

PARCELS containing a substantial amount of hand rolling tobacco (HRT) have been seized at Stansted Airport after smugglers attempted to hide it in rolls of fabric and tubes of baseballs. Barry McGill, assistant director UK Border Agency (UKBA), said: The

PARCELS containing a substantial amount of hand rolling tobacco (HRT) have been seized at Stansted Airport after smugglers attempted to hide it in rolls of fabric and tubes of baseballs.

Barry McGill, assistant director UK Border Agency (UKBA), said: "These seizures illustrate the lengths that smugglers will go to in an attempt to bring their illegal tobacco products into the UK, as well as the skill and dedication of UK Border Agency officers in intercepting the parcels.

"Cheap, often counterfeit, tobacco products are a major threat to the health and well-being of communities across Essex and throughout the country. Smugglers are criminals who are motivated by profit and they consistently demonstrate that they do not care about the harm that they cause by engaging in smuggling and organised crime whether it is associated with drugs, dangerous counterfeit cigarettes or indeed people smuggling and trafficking.

"If you know of anyone involved in smuggling or trafficking activities, please telephone our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000."


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The separate hauls with a combined estimated duty loss of �11,000, were intercepted on March 27, 2009. Although documentation made the contents appear legitimate all the parcels contained tobacco.

The first seizure of an estimated 80kg of HRT was discovered in two parcels of what appeared at first glance to be rolls of fabric. UKBA officers found that the smugglers had carefully stuffed rolled up pieces of fabric into the end of each roll to disguise the fact that they were hollow and contained illicit tobacco. The parcels which originated in Macao contained 80kg of tobacco.

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The second seizure from China arrived at the Essex airport on the same day and was found in a consignment labelled as baseballs. The two parcels each contained 12 sealed tubes complete with pictures of baseballs on the sides. The tobacco recovered from the inside weighed an estimated 19 kg.

No arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing.

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