Northern Ireland

Nine million cigarettes seized after lorry stopped on A1 outside Lisburn

31-year-old arrested and questioned, then released on bail

Nine million cigarettes seized following joint HMRC and PSNI operation
Nine million cigarettes seized following joint HMRC and PSNI operation

More than nine million smuggled cigarettes were seized after a lorry was stopped on the A1 near Lisburn.

The lorry driver was arrested following the seizure, which HMRC said was worth an estimated £5m in lost duty and taxes. The 45-foot lorry was stopped by the PSNI as it travelled northbound on the A1.

Officers seized 9.3 million cigarettes from the container, while the 31-year-old man was arrested and later released on bail.

Dermot Clarke, the assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, 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.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Emma Neill, of the PSNI, added: “These seizures send a powerful message to those engaged in this type of crime.

“We are committed to working alongside our partner agencies to combat the illicit trade of illegal tobacco, wines and spirits and remain resolute in our efforts to put those who seek to profit from criminality before the courts.”