Illegal Cigarette Trade Linked to Global Crime


Low duty rates allow criminals easier access

Organised crime gangs across the country are moving in to the illegal cigarette trade. Police and government officials fear that these crimes link back to bigger gangs and terrorists across the world.


The lure of this trade is the fact that there is much more money to be made as it is more easier and effective. Individuals caught selling or smuggling illegal cigarettes are more likely to get penalties which are much more lower than other smuggling crimes.


Mark Yexley, of Japan Tobacco International said, “Law enforcement agencies across the world have identified links between tobacco smuggling and globalised crime. The man or woman in the street who sells illegal cigarettes could be the front for a criminal supply chain that can span the globe. The £5 spent by a smoker on illegal cigarettes in Birmingham today could potentially fund major global criminals and terrorists organisations tomorrow.”


The low duty rates allow criminals easier access to smuggling counterfeit cigarettes. Along with this well-known products such as Marloboro and Mayfair are smuggled from countries such as China; which is known as a major smuggling destination. Items are smuggled through seaport in to Europe.


In the past 10 months Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customes has seized more than one million fake rolling tobacco pouches being smuggled into the UK to be filled with illegal tobacco; with all indication that this figure would no doubt rise.


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