Nearly 5,500 cigarettes and 6.6kgs of tobacco worth nearly £2,500 were uncovered from shops in St Leonards and Eastbourne yesterday (Wednesday, October 21).
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators discovered the illicit goods in three properties in East Sussex worth an estimated £2,483 in lost duty and taxes.
A sniffer dog trained to detect tobacco and its handler helped officers uncover cigarettes hidden in various parts of the shops.
HMRC Fraud Investigation Service assistant director Alan Tully 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 £2.1billion a year.
“This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.
“We will continue to target this illegal trade at all points from the supply chain to the distribution networks, which is why we would encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
HMRC investigations into the seizures are continuing.
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