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£1.8m stash of raw tobacco found in Preston

Raw tobacco seized during a HMRC illegal tobacco probe spanning Preston, Blackburn, Essex and Bury

Raw tobacco seized during a HMRC illegal tobacco probe spanning Preston, Blackburn, Essex and Bury

A nationwide illegal tobacco ring has been smashed open following the discovery of a £1.8m stash of eight tons of raw tobacco in Preston.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers say a major tobacco fraud has been foiled, with arrests made in Lancashire, Essex and Bury, Greater Manchester.

The haul in Preston will be burned to help fuel the National Grid.

It was discovered at an undisclosed location in November but details were kept under wraps until now, due to an ongoing probe.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers seized cash, chemical agents, counterfeit packaging and tobacco packing machinery after raiding a linked illegal plant at a farm in Essex, as well as a premises in Blackburn and four near Bury two weeks ago.

The Evening Post’s Don’t Let Them Make a Packet Campaign, has lifted the lid on how the county’s criminal underworld is profiting from smuggling illicit tobacco, affecting the incentive for adults and children to quit.

 

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