Retford men arrested in £20 million cigarette fraud


Two Retford men have been arrested by customs officers investigating a £20 million illegal tobacco fraud.

Dozens of police and officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raided addresses across Notts and South Yorkshire on Friday morning as part of a probe into excise duty fraud and money laundering.

The two men aged 27 and 23 were arrested along with two men, aged 26 and 27, from Doncaster and a 47-year-old man from Newark.

The arrests follow a long running operation codenamed Hornbeam is investigating the evasion of excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco and money laundering.

“The raids are the culmination of months of work by HMRC officers involved in Operation Hornbeam,” said HMRC’s assistant director for criminal investigation Peter Hollier.

“At present I am unable to give further details as our investigations are continuing, however the activities send a clear message to those tempted to become mixed up in crimes of this nature.”

“We take excise fraud and the trade in smuggled tobacco goods extremely seriously and will pursue anyone believed to be actively involved in this type of crime.”

Investigations are currently ongoing.