A series of raids by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers on independent shops in Derby have resulted in the seizure of almost 46,000 illicit cigarettes and nearly 50 kilos of rolling tobacco.

Nine shops were raided in a two-week period, and the total revenue loss is thought to be around £19,000.

The majority of the haul was made up of ‘cheap white’ Jin Lin cigarettes, and L&Ms.

Keith Morgan, senior officer of criminal investigations for HMRC, said: “We take tobacco smuggling very seriously. It’s costing the British taxpayer around £2bn a year in lost revenue to the public finances and has a devastating impact on honest retailers having to compete with the black market economy. We would encourage anyone with information on tobacco smuggling to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk”

No arrests have currently been made and investigations are ongoing.