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Customs detain gang that make illegal cigarettes for sale in the UK

Customs officers in West Flanders have detained six members of a gang that was involved in the production of illegal cigarettes destined for sale in the United Kingdom. A total of 4.5 million cigarettes were seized at a site in the village of Elverdinge, near Ieper. A total of 1.55 million euro in excise duty and VAT is payable on the haul of illicit cigarettes.


The cigarettes were produced at a warehouse in Elverding, a village around 10 kilometres from the French border. Around 4.5 million poor quality cigarettes were seized. The amount of excise duty and VAT that would be payable on this quantity of cigarettes is 1.55 million euro. 

Florence Angelici of the Federal Finance Department that is responsible for the Belgian Customs told VRT News that with the UK about to leave the customs union and the European single market the number of illegal cigarettes destined for the United Kingdom that are being intercepted has increased recently. “They know that from 1 January there will be much more stringent checks. They now want to get everything sent to the United Kingdom before then”. 

Two weeks ago another illegal cigarette factory was raided at Wulpen, near Kortrijk (West Flanders). 

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