VISITORS to Easter car boot sales in the Eastbourne are being urged by HM Revenue & Customs to be on the lookout for traders selling counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes and alcohol at what might appear to be bargain prices.
Customs officials say expertly crafted packaging makes it almost impossible to spot whether bargain priced tobacco and alcohol products are counterfeit and like any other fake product, there is no guarantee of the quality or content.
Of all the large cigarette seizures HMRC made last year around half were found to be counterfeit.
They are not genuine cigarettes brought back from holiday but were probably made in back-street or underground factories across the world and their manufacture and sale is unlicensed and unregulated.
Stuart Crookshank from HMRC said, “Low cost tobacco and alcohol products can often seem very attractive to those people who believe they are buying genuine products at a knock down price.
“Those involved are not concerned if they are selling to children and underage young people.
“This illicit trade has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers and the local community.
“We all pay extra to compensate for the money these criminals steal, and with the economic challenges being faced by businesses and the public our focus must remain relentless to deter and disrupt the illegal trade.
“We would encourage anyone who knows of someone selling cheap or duty free cigarettes, tobacco or alcohol to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email email@example.com”