Another huge illegal tobacco seizure at Dublin Port

Another huge illegal tobacco seizure at Dublin Port

The illicit tobacco and cigarette trade took another hit – with €7.7m scooped by Renenue this week.

The illegal haul was seized at Dublin Port as a result of routine profiling. Revenue’s X-ray scanner and detector dog Waffle assisted in uncovering over 12.5 tonnes of loose tobacco. The consignment originated in Bulgaria and would have represented a loss to the Exchequer of approximately €6.3 million, the Irish Times reported.

The Revenue’s is focusing ongoing operations targeting the shadow economy and the sale and supply of illegal tobacco products.

Businesses or members of the public with any information regarding smuggling can contact Revenue in confidence on free phone number 1800 295 295.

Benny Gilsenan, spokesman for Retailers Against Smuggling, told the Irish Times this is the third large haul in recent months.

Mr Gilsenan, who owns a newsagent close to the North Circular Road in Dublin, said the people importing these consignments feel they are “immune to the law” and stricter sanctions are needed to deter criminals. They sell their product loose to consumers in the same way dealers would sell illegal drugs.

In its headline results for 2020, Revenue reported a total of 4,390 seizures of cigarettes and other tobacco with a value of €32.7m. This compares to a value of €10.52m for 2019 representing a threefold increase, according to Retailers Against Smuggling.

The newsagent told the newspaper that he first became aware of the issue of tobacco smuggling in the early 90s, when he began to see smokers in his area using products that could not be bought in stores.

“In every budget since 2000, cigarettes have gone up in price… They push up the price of tobacco for us in retail. The whole idea is to force people not to buy it, but it has forced people not to buy it from us,” he added.

IFCR will have a full report into the illicit tobacco and cigarette ‘trade’ in its next issue.