Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 14:03 UK

Cigarettes worth over 1m seized

The counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes were worth over 1m (Pic: HMRC)
The evaded duty equates to more than 800,000, HMRC said

A haul of nearly five million counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes worth over £1m has been seized, along with illicit alcohol, in Merseyside.

Officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) found the goods in a check on premises in the Seaforth, Bootle and Netherton areas on Wednesday.

The seizures also involved Liverpool trading standards officers, Merseyside Police and a tobacco detection dog.

HMRC described the enterprise as being on a "commercial" scale.

'Serious problem'

The cigarettes, a mixture of counterfeit, non-UK and well-known brands from Europe and Asia, were taken away for further tests and recycling.

The evaded excise duty on the cigarettes equates to over £800,000, HMRC said.

HMRC officers said they seized the cigarettes alongside a small quantity of hand-rolling tobacco and over 560 litres of suspected counterfeit wine.

Liverpool City Council's executive member for the environment, Councillor Berni Turner, said: "Illegal tobacco is a serious problem in the city and affects residents in some of our most deprived communities."

Liverpool trading standards officers, who helped in the search, seized a "significant quantity" of counterfeit Ugg boots.

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