Shops visited and woman arrested in illegal tobacco crackdown


An operation to disrupt the sale of illegal tobacco in north and west Belfast has uncovered more than 13,000 cigarettes and 4.95kg (almost 11lb) of rolling tobacco, all believed to be illicit.

Around 20 HMRC officers, plus police, visited 10 shops and one home on Tuesday, seizing suspected illegal goods from six of the premises.

In total, it was estimated about £6,000 in VAT had been evaded by illegal sales.

In addition, £6,000 was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and a 44-year-old woman from north Belfast was arrested. She has since been released on bail.

Since 2000, HMRC said it has reduced the illicit market in cigarettes by around one third.