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Smokers warned against buying car boot cigarettes

PUBLISHED: 12:26 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 23 August 2010

ILLICIT: A trader.

ILLICIT: A trader.

BARGAIN hunters are being warned against buying counterfeit or smuggled cigarettes as the car boot sale season gets underway. Her Majesty s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sees a rise in these unregulated and unlicensed sales at boot fairs across the South Ea

BARGAIN hunters are being warned against buying counterfeit or smuggled cigarettes as the car boot sale season gets underway.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sees a rise in these unregulated and unlicensed sales at boot fairs across the South East in Easter.

Spokesperson Bob Gaiger said: "With an estimated £2 billion in revenue being drained from the public purse each year by tobacco smugglers alone, the problem of excise fraud is a real one, which we are determined to crack."

He added: "This is not an innocent or victimless crime, but one that encourages otherwise honest people to trade with criminals."

Many are sold to underage children, others are fake products in expertly crafted packaging and can be dangerous.

He added: "The gangs behind this form of criminality reap huge profits from cigarette sales which are ploughed straight back into the criminal underworld, feeding activities like drug dealing and fraud."

The crime also has a negative impact on legitimate traders.

Call the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk with information.

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