Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Four arrested over Southampton and Felixstowe tobacco hauls

Four people have been arrested after tobacco weighing a total of 6.5 tonnes was seized at two UK ports, customs officers have revealed.

A woman, aged 40, was held in Croydon on 18 January after three seizures at Southampton and Felixstowe ports.

Three men were also arrested in North Kensington, London, in connection with one of the consignments.

All are Chinese and were arrested on suspicion of evading excise duty, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.

At least one is known to be in the country illegally.

The three men, aged 25, 29 and 36, have been bailed until 19 April and the woman has been bailed until 24 April.

HMRC said three tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco was seized at Felixstowe Container Port in April, 1.9 tonnes were seized at Southampton Container Port in July and a further 1.65 tonnes was seized at the same port in December.

All of the consignments were recorded on import documents as Chinese herbs.

A spokesman said the tobacco could have made more than 12 million cigarettes.

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