Officers seize 10m smuggled cigarettes at Felixstowe
- 15 September 2010
- From the section Suffolk
An attempt to smuggle more than 10 million cigarettes hidden in boxes of tomatoes through the port of Felixstowe has been foiled.
The haul - in two containers shipped from the Canary Islands - is the biggest single seizure made at the port this year, said the UK Border Agency.
Officers' attention was drawn to the shipment by a discrepancy in the documentation.
It would have cost the UK £2m in unpaid VAT and excise duty.
When the containers were opened on 13 September, detection staff were confronted with four pallets of fresh tomatoes concealing the cigarettes - a mixture of brands including Raquel Golds, Regal and Superkings.
Brian Hill, the UK Border Agency's assistant director at Felixstowe, said: "Cigarette smuggling is a serious organised crime and often provides the funding for much larger criminal operations, such as drug or people trafficking."
The tomatoes - totalling more than two tonnes - are being offered to Colchester Zoo.
The cigarettes will now be shredded and the pulp used to generate electricity for the national grid.