Customs seize 16 million cigarettes bound for UK

Customs seize 16 million cigarettes bound for UK
16 million cigarettes were found in the two containers. Photo: DPA

Sixteen million cigarettes have been seized in Hamburg harbour, customs said on Thursday. The smuggled goods came from Dubai and had been transported in containers labelled "household items."


Customs officials say the find prevented €4 million worth of lost taxes. The two 40-foot containers were ferrying eight million cigarettes from the "Classic" and "Red Hills" brands.

Investigators believe the cigarettes, which were packaged entirely in English, may have been destined exclusively for the British black market.     

German customs spokesperson Niels Hennig told The Local it was the biggest illegal cigarette haul of the year so far. "Our customs officials carry out risk assessments and focus their activities accordingly," he said.

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According to Hennig, the illegal cigarette market continues to be lucrative business for criminals. "With cigarette prices going up, and smuggled cigarettes selling for half the market value, it's worth it for many criminals."

In July of last year, customs officials in Hamburg seized 53 million illegal cigarettes, the biggest find in eight years.

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