Illegal Christmas alcohol and tobacco seized in Dagenham

A MASSIVE stash of illegal alcohol and over a hundred kilos of tobacco were seized during a two-day anti-smuggling operation.

Officers from HM Revenue & Customs found and confiscated 12,000 bottles of wine, 3,000 bottles of spirits and 68,000 cans of beer including popular brands such as Stella Artois, Grolsch, Fosters and Carlsberg on a Dagenham site between November 16 and 17.

They also found over 7,000 cheap white cigarettes and 129kgs of rolling tobacco, and seized three vans and an articulated lorry which had been used to transport the illicit goods.

The team was told by people working on the site that the 45,000 litres of alcohol and the tobacco were ready to go on sale on Christmas markets in the Essex area.

HM Revenue & Customs have not revealed the site’s location as the investigation and questioning is still ongoing. No arrests have yet been made.

Mark Allison, Inland Detection Manager for HMRC said: “This illegal activity has a devastating effect on legitimate retailers having to compete with black market traders, particularly at Christmas, one of the busiest times of the year for alcohol and tobacco sales.”

HMRC teams operating across the UK are targeting the illegal sale of alcohol and tobacco, which not only costs the UK economy billions of pounds but also depletes the public purse of vital tax revenues.

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Mr Allison added: “The illegal goods would have deprived public funds of over �120,000 –vital money needed to invest in services such as hospitals, schools and law enforcement.”

“We will not only seize the goods but also the vehicles used and those involved may face criminal prosecution.”

He appealed to local people and businesses with information about illegally imported goods, tax evasion and fraud, to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email: