Ten UK arrests in £50m microwave tobacco smuggling ring

Ten people have been arrested in raids in the UK and Luxembourg in a suspected £50m tax fraud by an international tobacco smuggling ring.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) believe the gang used microwave ovens and other white goods to smuggle tonnes of illegal tobacco into the UK.

Nine men and one woman were arrested in raids in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Kent, Devon and Luxembourg.

HMRC officers seized 4,800kg of tobacco worth £1.5m in evaded duty.

HMRC, which was assisted by Luxembourg police, said cash had also been seized.

A man aged 46 and a 47-year-old woman were arrested in Ashford, Kent. A man, 53, was arrested in Ormskirk, Lancashire.

Five men, aged 25, 32, 44, 45 and 51 were arrested in Bolton, Bury and Manchester, and a 26-year-old man and 52-year-old man were arrested in Plymouth.

All 10 have been bailed until January or March 2013 pending further enquiries, an HMRC spokesman said.

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