Van on M74 found to contain 600,000 illegal cigarettes

  • Published
The seized cigarettes in boxes
Image caption,
Police officers discovered 600,000 illegal cigarettes in the van

A man has been charged with excise duty fraud after an estimated 600,000 illegal cigarettes were found in his van.

The 32-year-old, from Coventry, in the West Midlands, was stopped while driving southbound on the M74 in the Lanarkshire area.

Officers discovered the illegal goods in the back of his van at about 11:00 on Friday 14 August and alerted HMRC.

The customs duty lost on the cigarettes is estimated to be more than £180,000.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The van was stopped on the M74 southbound in the Lanarkshire area

Gary Tickner, Police Scotland road policing inspector, said: "This seizure is an excellent example of our partnership with HMRC in tackling organised crime groups."

He added: "We continue to work closely with partner agencies to detect and disrupt criminal activity in our communities."

In the last two years, more than 2.8 billion illicit cigarettes and 439 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco have been seized by HMRC.

Joe Hendry, assistant director at HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service said: "We are committed to disrupting the distribution of illicit tobacco across the UK and levelling the playing field for local businesses who cannot compete with criminal competitors."