SMUGGLING gangs operating on an “industrial scale” across Lincolnshire
SMUGGLING gangs operating on an “industrial scale” across Lincolnshire will be brought to book, says the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
PCC Marc Jones said there was evidence that networks of organised criminals were smuggling tobacco and alcohol from Europe and into the county.
The gangs are even operating shops in order to launder the proceeds of the illegal goods.
Now Mr Jones has said he hopes to bring agencies together to identify, investigate and prosecute the offenders.
“These offences are not just peddling a few packets of cigarettes or a few bottles of cheap drink, brought in from Europe to evade taxes,” he said.
“In many cases the goods are dangerous and a terrible health risk to those buying and consuming them.
“These gangs are organised and ruthless and they must be stopped before they peddle more of their poison to our communities.
“I will be seeking greater input from a range of partner agencies including HM Revenue and Customs to support the outstanding work of Lincolnshire Police and Trading Standards to fully investigate and bring these offenders to justice.”
Last week (Thurs Oct 18) South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes praised the work of Mr Jones in the House of Commons and asked Treasury officials to aid his efforts.
He told the House: “Lincolnshire’s excellent Police and Crime Commissioner has alerted me to an organised, ruthless and serious network of criminals who have established the illegal supply of tobacco and alcohol on an industrial scale.
“Will the leader of the House ask a Treasury Minister to come here, so that we can ensure that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is looking at the way these things are supplied – shops solely exist for the purposes of money laundering.”