BORDER Agency officers have seized 10.4million smuggled cigarettes destined for the North East.
They were discovered in a lorry trailer which was searched at North Shields terminal on an early morning ferry from Holland.
The total amount of duty payable on the load would have £1.9million.
The haul included a range of brands, including king size Regal and a previously unseen variety called Manchester.
Maggie Eyden, of the UK Border Agency said: “Cigarette smuggling is not a victimless crime.
“It undercuts honest traders and defrauds the Treasury of large sums of money at a time when the country can least afford it.”
Gangs involved also often have links to serious organised crime.
A 40-year-old Bulgarian man was arrested in connection with the seizure, and released on bail.