Cigarette haul seized at airport

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UK Border Agency officers have intercepted more than a quarter of a million cigarettes being smuggled into the North East.

The cigarettes were found on four flights into Newcastle International Airport from the Canary Islands in the past seven days.

Almost 70 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco was also intercepted.

The haul, which was all found stashed in the hand and hold luggage of a dozen passengers, will now be destroyed.

Investigations are ongoing as a result of the seizures.

Tony McMullin, the UK Border Agency’s deputy director for Border Force North, welcomed the seizure.

He said: “The seizure of these cigarettes is a big haul and is indicative of the tight controls we have in place to protect all our borders.

“This contraband tobacco was seized over a period of a week, reflecting the fact that our officers are working to keep the frontier secure at all times.

“A haul of this size would defraud the Government out of significant revenue at a time when the public purse can least afford it. Tobacco smuggling such as this is also used to fund serious organised crime, including drug smuggling.”