Raid on Halstead tobacco factory

Five men were arrested during a HM Revenue and Customs raid on a Halstead farm.

Officers seized equipment used to make illegal cigarettes, cash, chemical agents and counterfeit packaging during the raid on April 23, which was part of a countrywide investigation.

Sandra Smith, assistant director for criminal investigations at HMRC, said: “It is clear from the chemicals and machinery we found that this gang planned to produce and sell illegal tobacco products across the UK. Illicit tobacco factories hidden in our communities are packaging low-quality tobacco and I’d urge people to be wary.

“Cheap tobacco may seem like a bargain, but there are no controls over what is mixed into the counterfeit product and, by buying it, smokers are funding organised crime gangs.

“Anyone with information about the transport, storage or sale of cheap cigarettes or tobacco can help us by calling our hotline on 0800 595000.”