An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uncovered an illegal tobacco factory in South Bucks and seized GBP 5 million (USD 6.6 million) worth of tobacco, evading duty and VAT, Windsor Express reported.
The processing plant, believed to be run by an organised crime gang, had 15 tonnes of processed and unprocessed tobacco inside as well as a substantial amount of tobacco manufacturing and processing machinery, the report said. Officers dismantled a tobacco shredding machine which was too big to be removed from the premises and also discovered cash, false tax stamps and counterfeit tobacco packaging. According to the report, police arrested three suspects.
“Trade in illegal tobacco comes at a cost as it often funds wider organised crime that causes real harm to our communities, undermines legitimate traders, and takes funding away from our vital public services. That’s why we work with Thames Valley Police and other agencies to disrupt criminal trade, which is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market.” Richard Mayer, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, was quoted as saying.