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£3 million illegal tobacco factory discovered near Wisbech

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Almost £3million worth of tobacco has been seized from what officials are describing as an "illegal processing factory" in a rural location near Wisbech.

HMRC has today released details of an operation in which more than nine tonnes of tobacco, plus thousands of pounds in cash, was seized.

Investigations into the haul are continuing and no arrests have so far been made.

Equipment like this was recovered during the operation (39442270)
Equipment like this was recovered during the operation (39442270)

HMRC says its officers began searching a rural address close to the Norfolk boundary with Cambridgeshire on July 14, with the assistance of Norfolk Police.

A total of 9,300 kilograms of tobacco was seized, including 1,200 kilograms which had been loaded into a van and was stopped from leaving the site.

Around £12,000 was also recovered, while machinery used in the manufacturing process was dismantled and removed.

Some of the illegal tobacco seized (39442333)
Some of the illegal tobacco seized (39442333)

Adam Kingsgate, assistant director of HMRC's fraud investigation service, said today: “Cheap cigarettes come at a cost, as they often fund organised crime and other illegal activity that causes real harm to our communities, such as drugs, guns and human trafficking.

"Smugglers are criminals who don’t care who they sell to, including children.

“That’s why disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market.

Thousands of pounds in cash was recovered (39442351)
Thousands of pounds in cash was recovered (39442351)

“We encourage anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal tobacco to report it to HMRC online.”

Information about any form of tobacco or tax fraud can be reported at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business

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