26/02/2019

Almost 30,000 Cigarettes Seized By PSNI In INLA Crackdown

Police investigating the activities of the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) have seized a significant amount of illicit cigarettes and tobacco in L'Derry.

Searches of seven shops in the city uncovered almost 30,000 cigarettes and 20 kilograms of tobacco, along with other counterfeit goods and mobile phones.

A 65-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of fraudulent evasion of excise duty in respect of 10,280 illicit cigarettes and 14.45 kilograms of tobacco seized from a shop in Gallaigh. He has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.
News Image
Detective Inspector Tom McClure of the PSNI's Organised Crime Unit said: "INLA in Derry/Londonderry use brutality, threats and fear to exert control and behind the scenes are involved in a wide range of criminal money-making 'rackets' to line their own pockets. One strand of their criminality is the importation and supply of illicit cigarettes into the North West and these illegal products are then distributed via a network of local shops and suppliers. For this reason we requested assistance from our partners in HMRC for today's operation.

"I am very concerned that 7 of the 11 shops visited today were found to have illicit cigarettes on their premises, meaning that these illegal products have been found in a total of 17 different shops in the Derry/Londonderry and Strabane area since the start of December. Retailers who stock and sell illicit cigarettes to the public should think carefully about the potential implications upon conviction. They and customers who knowingly purchase illicit cigarettes should be aware that they may be indirectly funding INLA terrorism and criminality which brings harm to local communities, for their own selfish gains."

The PSNI were supporting an HMRC operation. Assistant Director at the Fruad Investigation Service, Steve Tracey added: "Working together in partnership with other enforcement colleagues we can target the criminal gangs who are stealing from the taxpayer, robbing public services and undermining legitimate, honest traders."



(JG/CM)


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 March 2020
Four Charged As Counterfeit Money Seized In Co Armagh
Four men have been charged to court after counterfeit currency was seized when a vehicle failed to stop for police in Co Armagh. The white transit van also collided with a number of police vehicles during the incident on Saturday 21 March.
20 March 2020
Three Arrests As £300k Drugs Seized
Police say they have removed drugs worth over £300,000 from the streets of west Belfast. Three men, aged 33, 37 and 43 were arrested and a car was seized along with a further quantity of suspected class A and C drugs, cash and drug paraphernalia.
18 March 2020
Latest Coronavirus Figures Emerge
A further six coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland as the first and deputy First Ministers call for a "whole of society" approach. Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill say measures to support and protect the general public will only be effective if everyone follows health advice. The new cases bring totals to 68.
18 March 2020
Leisure Facilities Closed Across Belfast
Leisure centres and community facilities across Belfast have been closed as measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are ramped up. St George's Market, the Ulster Hall and the ICC Belfast are among those affected. City Hall has closed to the public with tours suspended and the visitor exhibition also closed.
12 February 2020
Health Service Needs £661m- Minister Swann
The Department of Health will need over £660 million to keep up with current services and tackle waiting lists over the next year, the Minister has said. Robin Swann marked his first month in office by spelling out the extent of the financial pressures ahead of the local health budget.