Smuggling: Tobacco

Home Department written question – answered on 7th October 2008.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Labour, Birkenhead

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to constrain illicit trade in tobacco; and what plans she has to review these measures.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Financial Secretary (HM Treasury) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

I have been asked to reply.

Since the publication of the tackling tobacco smuggling strategy in 2000, over 15 billion illicit cigarettes and over 1,000 tonnes of hand rolling tobacco (HRT) have been seized. Many organised criminal gangs have been broken up and thousands of individuals have been successfully prosecuted. As a result of the success of the strategy, the size of the illicit market for cigarettes was reduced over the five years to 2005-06 from 21 per cent. to 13 per cent.

At Budget 2008, the Government announced that the new UK Border Agency, which has assumed responsibility for Customs detection work at the border, would be developing a strategy for enhancing detection of tobacco products.

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