News story

Nine million smuggled cigarettes seized at Felixstowe

Millions of illicit cigarettes seized by Border Force at Port of Felixstowe

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

The smugglers had made no attempt to conceal the cigarettes
The smugglers had made no attempt to conceal the cigarettes

An attempt to smuggle an estimated 9 million cigarettes into the UK has been foiled by Border Force officers at the Port of Felixstowe.

Officers discovered the cigarettes shortly before 1pm on Wednesday (17 April) when they searched a container that had arrived at the port from Malaysia.

The smugglers had made no attempt to conceal the cigarettes other than a false manifest which listed the container as carrying plastic containers.

Had the smuggling attempt been successful it could have the cost the Treasury about £2 million in unpaid excise duty.

Charlotte Mann, Assistant Director from Border Force at Felixstowe, said:

You would struggle to find a more brazen smuggling attempt. The container was full of cigarettes, which were stacked floor to ceiling throughout.

Seizures like this demonstrate how Border Force officers are at the forefront of the fight against a criminal industry that is worth big money to those involved.

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 including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners - as well as visual searches - to find well-hidden stowaways, 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 the smuggling hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Read more about the work of Border Force

Published 22 April 2013