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Police make six arrests in Gravesend anti-smuggling raids

PUBLISHED: 12:25 16 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:25 16 December 2016

Some of the cigarettes seized by police

Some of the cigarettes seized by police

Archant

Some 300,000 cigarettes were seized during the operation

Police make six arrests and seize 300,000 cigarettes as part of an anti-smuggling operation in Gravesend.

At 10am yesterday (Thursday, December 15) officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit searched several businesses in the town and arrested six people on suspicion of various offences surrounding money laundering and tax evasion.

Police were supported by representatives from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Kent Trading Standards and Gravesham Borough Council.

Around 300,000 illegal cigarettes on which an estimated £120,000-worth of tax had not been paid were seized in the operation.

Detective inspector Gary Scarfe, of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “The results from yesterday’s operation reinforce how effective pre-planned multi agency work is and why it is so important.

“We have taken a vast number of illegal cigarettes off sale and will be continuing our enquiries to ensure those responsible for these offences are dealt with accordingly.

“We will not tolerate criminality of any nature and will always investigate thoroughly.”

Four men, aged 21, 25, 36 and 25 years old, and all from Gravesend, a 34-year-old man from Manchester and 19-year-old man from Ilford, Essex, were arrested during the operation and have been bailed until Thursday, February 23 to allow enquiries to continue.

Anyone who suspects a criminal offence (which is not deemed an emergency), can contact Kent Police on 101.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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