OFFICERS found 3,000 smuggled cigarettes and three kilos of illicit hand rolling tobacco, concealed in a hidden compartment behind a cupboard in one premises as part of today's Operation Harness raids across Swindon.

In another shop officers seized 30,000 cigarettes and 30 kilos of hand rolling tobacco on which no duty had been paid as HM Revenue and Customs used a specially trained sniffer dog to search for illegal tobacco products

The total retail value of the seizures is estimated as £15,000 and the duty loss as £12,000.

Colin Spinks, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, HMRC said: “We will continue to work with the Police and other agencies to target premises that sell illegal tobacco products. The tobacco and cigarettes seized today may have seemed very attractive, with customers lured into purchasing them at what seem like bargain prices. The truth is these goods have been smuggled and the contents are unregulated and could be harmful.

This illicit trade also has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers and the local community, with those involved not concerned if they are selling to children and underage young people.

“Members of the public can help us in the fight against this criminality by reporting anyone they suspect of selling smuggled or counterfeit tobacco products by calling our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000."