€31 million worth of cigarettes seized in 2009

Cigarette smuggling is now so widespread retailers are noticing up to 40% decline in sales, according to Retailers Against Smuggling
Cigarette smuggling is now so widespread retailers are noticing up to 40% decline in sales, according to Retailers Against Smuggling

As the number of contraband cigarettes seized this year climbs retailers call for greater action on tobacco smuggling

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12 October 2009 | 0

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Customs officers have seized over 76.5 million contraband cigarettes so far this year, with a retail value of approximately €31.1 million.

Cigarette seizures by customs totalled nearly 60.7 million between January and August 2009, carrying a retail value of over €25.5 million. However two seizures at the start of this month at Cork airport and Dublin Port captured a further 11.5 million cigarettes, which were worth €4.42 million at street value. Another 1.4 million were confiscated at Dublin airport.

The 3,000 strong group Retailers Against Smuggling has praised these seizures on the grounds they will save retail jobs. Group spokesperson Paddy O’Donohoe previously said tobacco smuggling was now so widespread, many retailers were seeing a 40% drop in sales. He also claimed:  “Customs, by their own admission, catch one in 10 of what is smuggled as they are both criminally understaffed and under-resourced.”

A Galway postman was recently reported to gardai for selling illegal cigarettes door- to-door. This followed an earlier incident where JTI ceased trading with a midlands retailer discovered to be selling fakes, while the Revenue Commissioners revealed nine Irish retailers faced prosecution for stocking counterfeit cigarettes.

Revenue has revealed it plans to introduce an enhanced security stamp. A spokesperson for told ShelfLife “the cost of the new enhanced, [tobacco tax] stamps is less than that of the old stamps. Phased introduction also avoids the cost of destruction of existing stock.”

 

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