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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Man arrested in tobacco and alcohol seizures in Co Antrim

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), have seized what are believed to be illicit alcohol and tobacco products, worth an estimated £18,745 in lost duty and taxes.


As part of an operation to disrupt the sale and supply of suspected non-UK duty paid goods, HMRC officers searched retail premises in Randalstown and Portadown, on Tuesday 17 January 2023.


In total they seized 39,298 non-UK duty paid cigarettes, alongside more than 890 litres of alcohol.

A 35-year-old man was arrested by HMRC on suspicion of evasion of excise duty and has since been released on bail.


Lucie Irving, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:


“The trade in illicit cigarettes and tobacco damages funding for essential public services and undermines legitimate traders including small, independent shops that serve local communities.


“HMRC continues to work closely with our partners to relentlessly pursue the determined minority who refuse to play by the rules.


“Anyone with information about the illegal sale of cigarettes and tobacco should report it to HMRC online at GOV.UK.”

Commenting on the operation, a spokesperson for Police in Antrim & Newtownabbey said:

"Antrim Neighbourhood policing Officers assisted HM Revenue and Customs in a search of a premises in Randalstown.

"39298 cigarettes, in excess of 890 litres of alcohol and a quantity of fireworks were seized from the premises.

"One man has been arrested.

"We are committed to working alongside the local community to address any illegal activity and take action."


Investigations into the seizures are continuing, and HMRC added:

"The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated by HMRC or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco and alcohol market, which collectively costs the UK around £3.3 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders."


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