Illegal cigarettes, worth 60K, found in van in Middlesbrough

A quarter of a million illegal cigarettes, worth £60,000, have been seized by police in Middlesbrough.

Officers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit found the goods after stopping a van on Marton Road in the town.

A 39-year-old man from Middlesbrough was arrested on suspicion of evading duty on the items and bailed pending further inquiries.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has begun an investigation.

The crime team which stopped the vehicle was set up in March 2013.

Insp Mick Robson, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: "Discovering this huge haul of illegal cigarettes is a great start for our new crime team.

"We will work closely with our partners, such as the HMRC, and will apprehend those that are believed to be bringing contraband goods into the region."

HMRC Assistant director for Criminal Investigation Jo Tyler said: "The importation and distribution of illegal, duty-free cigarettes and tobacco is a serious criminal offence and we will look to take action against those who are caught."

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