Cigarette smuggling: raids on student properties and mail parcels in Cardiff

October 31, 2013

The police and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs are warning students not to get involved in cigarette smuggling after parcels containing non-duty paid foreign brands were seized by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Cardiff.

In the last week, officers have seized 45 parcels of illegal cigarettes destined for student properties in the Cathays area of Cardiff. The consignments of Chinese 'illicit whites’ – brands such as Nan Jing, Eight and Ten – are not legally sold in the UK. Enquiries suggest that smugglers are persuading students to use their addresses for the deliveries.

The 45 parcels seized contained about 45,000 cigarettes, with a further 7,000 seized at properties searched by HMRC. Investigations are continuing.

Colin Spinks, Assistant Director, HMRC said: “Our investigations suggest that students are allowing their addresses to be used for deliveries of illegal cigarettes. In doing so, they directly aid criminality and risk a criminal record themselves.

Anyone offered cheap cigarettes should be wary. You could be buying into organised crime. To make sure you are buying a legitimate product, you should avoid:

  • tobacco products without health warnings or with warnings not in English
  • tobacco products without the “UK DUTY PAID” fiscal mark
  • unusual or foreign brands not usually sold in the UK
  • poor quality packaging

Anyone with information about cigarette or tobacco smuggling can tell HMRC by calling the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Tagged: campuswatch international