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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 11:58 GMT
14m counterfeit cigarettes seized
More than 14 million counterfeit cigarettes have been seized in Coventry in a crackdown on fake goods entering the UK from illegal factories in China.

A total of 51kg (112lb) of hand rolling tobacco was also confiscated.

The operation by customs officers was carried out at a parcel distribution centre in the city during January.

The counterfeit cigarettes were mainly UK brands. The tobacco products will be recycled to provide power to the national grid.

'New risks'

The tax evasion on 14m cigarettes is about 3m and 11,000 on 51kg of hand rolling tobacco, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said.

Neil Goodban, anti-smuggling Manager for HMRC, said: "The proceeds from cigarette and tobacco smuggling are often used to fund serious and organised crime such as drug smuggling.

"The illicit cigarette trade breeds contempt for the law by encouraging otherwise honest people to trade with criminals.

"We are aware that most smokers buying cheap cigarettes are unlikely to realise they are buying counterfeit tobacco products which provide a whole new added set of risks to smokers."

Tests on previous counterfeit hauls have revealed the cigarettes contained up to 60% more tar, 80% more nicotine and 133% more carbon monoxide, HMRC said.




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