M4 operation nets £200,000 in unpaid duty tobacco
11:43am Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
THREE people were arrested and 1.5 tonnes of tobacco worth an estimated £200,000 in duty was seized by police and customs officials in a four day operation on the M4.
It also netted two vans laden with alcohol worth more than £7,000 in duty, 56 dangerously overweight vehicles, a commercial driver who was over the drink drive limit and four commercial vehicles without insurance.
Sgt Craig Hardy of Wiltshire Police said: “Issuing more than 100 fixed penalty tickets for various road traffic offences in just four days goes to show that there are a number of motorists who flout the law which is in place to not only protect them but also other road users.
“We have prosecuted 56 drivers whose commercial vehicles were overloaded, several were found to be over 60 per cent overweight, and seized several uninsured commercial vehicles.”
The joint operation by Wiltshire Police and HM Revenue and Customs targeted excise fraud and motoring offences. HMRC was looking for illegal alcohol, tobacco or vehicles using red diesel.
Fines totalling £18,000 were handed out and an arrest was also made by the UK Border Agency for immigration offences.
Simon De-Kayne, HMRC Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, said: “Together we have prevented substantial quantities of illegal tobacco and alcohol from reaching the South West’s streets and opened further avenues of enquiry.”
A total of 450 mainly light commercial vehicles travelling between Membury Services and Junction 5 were stopped between March 11 and 14.