Northern Ireland news

Three million cigarettes smuggled into Enniskillen from Holland in 'tinned peas' container

Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland

THREE million cigarettes were hidden in a `tinned peas' container and smuggled into Co Fermanagh from Holland via Dublin Port.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raided the property in Enniskillen on Thursday December 3 along with a PSNI team.

During the operation they arrested five men at the scene and seized the container full of `tobacco products' worth an estimated £1.3 million in lost taxes and duties.

The men, aged 28, 32, 37, 39 and 67, have been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service and investigations are continuing, with the joint investigation also involving the Irish Revenue Commissioners and Dutch authorities.

Around €3,500 (£3,178) in cash was also seized and one business property was searched during the Joint Agency Task Force operation.

Steve Tracey of HMRC said it will continue to work with partner agencies "to deploy where necessary to disrupt and dismantle the illicit trade of tobacco and other forms of criminality".

He emphasised the Europe-wide dimension of the operation saying it shows "what can be achieved by our ongoing cooperation across jurisdictions to tackle criminality and demonstrates that we are committed to working with each other, at every level and in every location to tackle organised crime on a cross-border basis".

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Northern Ireland news