More than four million illicit cigarettes, worth an estimated £1.6 million in lost duty and taxes, have been seized by HMRC from a warehouse in Glasgow.
Investigations then led the officers to a tobacco factory in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. The equipment was dismantled and officers confiscated two industrial mixing machines, a tobacco shredder, packaging and 45kg of tobacco.
Three men from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, aged between 25 and 34, were arrested and charged with excise duty fraud and money laundering offences. Around £20,000 in cash was also seized from one of the properties.
Joe Hendry, assistant director, fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “This is another example of the combined powers our partners at the Scottish Crime Campus and Serious Organised Crime Taskforce have to disrupt, detect and deter the illicit trade of tobacco and other forms of criminality.
“Tackling criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clamp down on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £1.9 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.”