Millions of illicit cigarettes seized from warehouse

Three men charged after cigarette-making operation is dismantled.

Millions of illicit cigarettes seized from warehouse HMRC

Three men have been charged after illicit cigarettes worth £1.6m were seized from a warehouse by customs officials.

More than four million cigarettes were found in the building in Glasgow, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.

A tobacco factory was then discovered in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, where two industrial mixing machines, a tobacco shredding machine, packaging and 45kg of tobacco were seized and the operation was dismantled.

Three residential properties in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, were also searched and about £20,000 in cash was seized from one of them.

HMRC said three men from Airdrie, aged 25, 30 and 34, were arrested and charged with excise duty fraud and money laundering offences in an operation supported by Police Scotland.

Joe Hendry, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Tackling criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clamp down on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £1.9bn a year.

“This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of cigarettes to report it to HMRC online at or call our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.”

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