News story

Cigarettes seized at Leeds Bradford International Airport

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Border Force officers have seized thousands of cigarettes from three airline passengers using specially adapted waistcoats.

Border Force officers have foiled an attempt to smuggle nearly 30,000 cigarettes through Leeds Bradford International Airport, including thousands hidden inside specially adapted waistcoats.

The seizure was made at just after 11pm on Tuesday (28 May) when officers became suspicious that two male passengers arriving on a flight from Vilnius, Lithuania, were wearing bulky and ill-fitting jackets.


They were searched, along with a third man travelling with them. All three were Lithuanian.

The specially adapted waistcoat used by the smugglers.

Officers found 3,800 cigarettes concealed in adapted pouches on the front and back of two waistcoats worn by the men. The trio were also carrying 23,700 cigarettes in their hand luggage, making a total of 27,500.

Unusual concealment

Sam Bullimore, Assistant Director for Border Force North, said:

This was an unusual concealment, and on the face of it quite convincing, but our expert officers are trained to expect the unexpected.

Criminal gangs often use the proceeds of tobacco smuggling to fund other forms of serious organised crime. By stopping these shipments we are starving them of the proceeds of their criminality.

Tobacco smuggling also deprives the economy of significant revenue at a time when the country can least afford it.

I would urge anyone tempted by cheap cigarettes and tobacco to think again. The black market cheats honest traders. It is totally unregulated so buyers have no way of knowing what they are actually getting and, worst of all, further up the supply chain serious criminals are reaping the rewards.

Read more about the work of Border Force.