HMRC has snuffed out activities at an illegal tobacco processing factory in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire.
HMRC officers raided the plant last week and found about a tonne of tobacco as well as counterfeit tobacco pouches, duty labels and processing machinery.
The officers pounced on the industrial unit after police arrested two men at Warwick Services where a van laden with about half a tonne of processed tobacco was found.
HMRC seized enough tobacco to fill 30,000 standard 50g tobacco pouches. The duty evaded totalled about £300,000.
John Cooper, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clamp down on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £1.2bn a year in lost revenue.”
Jeremy Blackburn, head of communications at tobacco manufacturer JTI, added that HMRC’s closure of the illicit factory would stop thousands of consumers being conned into buying fake tobacco which had previously been found to contain dead flies and human excrement.
“Since the start of 2013, JTI has been notified of the seizure of more than 1.5 million counterfeit rolling tobacco pouches (potential £20m revenue loss) which were not doubt destined for illegal factories, similar to the one discovered in Hampshire,” Blackburn said.