Fenland car booters warned urged to be on lookout for counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol

VISITORS to Easter car boot sales across Fenland have been urged by HM Revenue & Customs to be on the lookout for traders selling counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes and alcohol.

Expertly crafted packaging makes it almost impossible to spot whether ‘bargain priced’ tobacco and alcohol products are counterfeit.

Of all the large cigarette seizures HMRC made last year around half were found to be counterfeit. They are not genuine cigarettes brought back from holiday but were probably made in back-street or underground factories across the world and their manufacture and sale is unlicensed and unregulated.

Stuart Crookshank, assistant director for HMRC, said: “We all pay extra to compensate for the money these criminals steal and with the economic challenges being faced by businesses and the public, our focus must remain relentless to deter and disrupt the illegal trade.

“We would encourage anyone who knows of someone selling cheap or duty free cigarettes and tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk”

He added: “The profits from tobacco and alcohol smuggling fund other criminal activities including drug and people trafficking, and causes real harm in the community.

“And with over �2billion in unpaid revenue stolen last year from public funds through tobacco smuggling and around �1billion through alcohol smuggling, this crime impacts hard on the UKs finances - money needed to invest in local services.”

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