10 million fake cigarettes seized at Immingham docks
DON'T put the health of your wallet ahead of your own!
That's the warning from Trading Standards officials, who are urging people not to buy counterfeit cigarettes after a haul of 10.5 million was discovered by customs officials at Immingham docks.
Border Force officers at the deep water port discovered the haul of Palace cigarettes in a container that had been shipped from Singapore, via Zeebrugge.
As reported, last month, a haul of nearly 50,000 cigarettes was seized in Immingham on the eve of the launch of Operation Yali – an initiative aimed at encouraging those with information about smuggling to come forward. And that discovery came just three weeks after a consignment of 50,000 cigarettes was found at Killingholme, having arrived from the Hook of Holland in a concealed compartment under the trailer of another lorry.
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Neil Clark, community protection manager for North East Lincolnshire Council, said: "The cheaper sale price often tempts adults into buying them, particularly in the run-up to Christmas when money is tight.
"We also particularly concerned that children may buy them and become addicted which causes health concerns and more financial burden to the state in treatment.
"We know smuggled cigarettes are often counterfeit, meaning you have no idea what they contain.
"Smokers who think they are getting a good deal on cheaper cigarettes need to realise they are probably smoking tobacco containing sawdust, sand, paper, plastic, and certainly contain higher levels of tar, nicotine and other banned chemicals.
"It's simply a lethal cocktail."
Sam Bullimore, assistant director of Border Force in the north of England, said had the latest counterfeit cigarettes hit the streets, it would have cost the Treasury approximately £3-million in evaded duty – and put anyone who smoked them at risk.
He said: "You never know what is in counterfeit cigarettes, which makes them worse for people's health than normal cigarettes.
"People may think they are getting a good deal, but they are putting their health at stake."
Mr Bullimore added: "This is the latest in a series of large cigarette and Class A drug seizures we have made at our Humberside ports. Make no mistake – we are determined to make life as difficult as possible for those involved in this kind of illegal activity.
"We have changed the way we deploy our officers at Immingham and have enjoyed a number of successes.
"We would also encourage anyone with information about suspected smuggling to get in touch.
"Lorry drivers are well placed to notice modifications made to vehicles to enable people, drugs and cigarettes to be transported and can report any suspicions to us."
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call the smuggling hotline on 0800 59 5000 or visit Customs House on Immingham docks.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.