More than 2 tonnes of black market hand rolling tobacco worth £700,000 in unpaid duty has been seized by Border Force in Belfast.
The tobacco was detected within a shipping container which had arrived at Belfast Docks from the Netherlands on Wednesday 11 November. Border Force Officers searched the shipment, which was labelled as air filters, and found the tobacco on nine pallets which weighed a total of 2.34 tonnes.
The operation was conducted under the umbrella of the Northern Ireland Organised Crime Task Force, which includes Border Force, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Police Service of Northern Ireland and other partners.
Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, said:
Steve Tracey, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
Had the smuggling attempt not been detected, it would have cost the Treasury £700,000 in unpaid duty and VAT. No arrests were made but HMRC is investigating further.
Last month, Border Force had further success in stopping illicit cigarettes entering the UK when they seized around 10 million cigarettes at Harwich worth almost £3 million in unpaid duty.
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 UK.
In 2019, Border Force protected the Treasury from losing more than £210 million in unpaid duty from black market cigarettes.