News story

Border Force seize more than a million cigarettes in Manchester

An attempt to smuggle more than a million cigarettes into the UK hidden in foot stools was prevented by Border Force at Manchester Airport.

Cigarette seizure.

Officers discovered the cigarettes in 6 separate seizures between 23 December 2017 and 2 January 2018.

Each consignment was listed as foot stools, but when officers examined the furniture they found hundreds of packets of cigarettes, branded as Lambert and Butler but suspected counterfeit, hidden in the void beneath the cushions.

In total, 1,012,800 cigarettes were detected.

Had the smuggling attempts proved successful it could have cost the Treasury approximately £375,000 in unpaid duty and VAT.

All of the consignments came from China.

Paul Airlie, Deputy Director of Border Force North, said:

These significant seizures, 1,012,800 cigarettes in total, are testament to the expertise of Border Force officers who are working every day to prevent illegal importations, no matter how well they are concealed.

The black market cheats honest traders and it is effectively stealing from the public purse. By stopping the consignments Border Force has starved those responsible of the proceeds of their criminality.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country. They use an array of search techniques to find illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Published 9 January 2018