£3,500 of bootleg tobacco seized in Edinburgh and Leith raids

HMRC sezied bootleg cigarettes hidden in fruit machines
HMRC sezied bootleg cigarettes hidden in fruit machines
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THOUSANDS of cigarettes were found hidden in fruit machines during a raid on suspected contraband tobacco.

Sniffer dogs uncovered the haul during the operation at shops and bars in Leith and the city centre.

More than 6,000 cigarettes and eight kilos of hand-rolling tobacco worth more than £3,500 were seized on Friday.

Cheryl Burr of the HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said: “The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

Trading Standards, Immigration Enforcement and police joined HMRC officers on the raids.

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Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “This operation is an example of effective partnership working between agencies involved, which I hope will go some way toward deterring the sale of illegal tobacco in Edinburgh.

“The illicit trade of such products is unacceptable and I would encourage anyone who suspects the illegal sale of tobacco to report it to Trading Standards.”

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco can contact the HMRC fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.

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