Newport illegal tobacco trade 'helping fund terrorism'

South Wales Argus: Newport Trading Standards performed raids on City shops selling illegal tobacco. Newport Trading Standards performed raids on City shops selling illegal tobacco.

THE smokers buying cheap, illegal cigarettes in Newport could be funding terrorist operations around the world – that’s the message from those looking to crack down on the trade.

Millions of dollars in illicit tobacco revenues are reaching terrorist organisations including the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, according to the United Nations.

A recent report also said funds were helping finance Congolese rebels, known for recruiting child soldiers.

Two weeks ago, the Argus revealed around illegal tobacco worth £250,000 – both counterfeit and illicit – was found hidden in three city centre shops.

The haul was the biggest ever found in the city.

A specialist trained dog was vital in discovering the products, which were hidden in secret compartments, behind false walls and under floorboards.

The Argus’ investigation found a pack of 20 illegal cigarettes being sold for £3.50 and 50g packets of counterfeit tobacco for £4.00.

Law-abiding retailers are being undercut by this rogue industry spreading across the city and told the Argus: “It affects everybody.”

The huge profit margins and softer penalties – compared to drug offences – are making the illegal tobacco trade a popular business options for organised crime rings.

A spokeswoman for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: “Tobacco smuggling is a global, highly profitable business controlled by organised crime groups.

“The proceeds from smuggling tobacco products are often used to fund other forms of serious and organised crime such as smuggling of drugs and weapons, and human trafficking.”

Mark Yexley, media relations manager at Japan Tobacco International, said: “The man or woman in the street who sells illegal cigarettes could be the front for a criminal supply chain that can span the globe.

“The £5 spent by a smoker on illegal cigarettes in Newport today can potentially fund major global criminals and terrorist organisations tomorrow.”

Retailers caught selling illegal tobacco can face criminal prosecution and a sentence of up to seven years, as well as fines up to £5,000 for selling tobacco not bearing UK duty paid markings.

Following successful prosecution, retailers can also have their alcohol sales license revoked and National Lottery terminal removed.

Gwent Police say there are unaware of illegal tobacco being linked to organised crime in Newport.

Anyone with information on people selling illegal and counterfeit products is urged to contact Trading Standards on 01633 656656.

Comments (14)

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6:41am Fri 16 May 14

Mr Holder says...

Aren't legitimate tax payers funding extreme, arguably terrorist organisations in Libya and Syria for example, or what about the E.U funding of the illegal and violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of the Ukraine.

One could argue that legitimate tax paying members of the public are funding terrorist organisations.
Aren't legitimate tax payers funding extreme, arguably terrorist organisations in Libya and Syria for example, or what about the E.U funding of the illegal and violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of the Ukraine. One could argue that legitimate tax paying members of the public are funding terrorist organisations. Mr Holder
  • Score: 25

7:02am Fri 16 May 14

Dolieboy says...

Yawn - what about the poppy harvests in Afghanistan that the government promised they would stamp out ?
Yawn - what about the poppy harvests in Afghanistan that the government promised they would stamp out ? Dolieboy
  • Score: 19

7:22am Fri 16 May 14

Dai Rear says...

Because of the absurd taxation in Little Britain it's open season for importing baccy and it's a backroom industry. Anyone with the ability to hire a white van to Calais and a few stooges to drive the van is in business. If our state can't get taxation right this is one of the consequences just as cash in hand is a consequence of over-taxation of income in France
Because of the absurd taxation in Little Britain it's open season for importing baccy and it's a backroom industry. Anyone with the ability to hire a white van to Calais and a few stooges to drive the van is in business. If our state can't get taxation right this is one of the consequences just as cash in hand is a consequence of over-taxation of income in France Dai Rear
  • Score: 9

7:52am Fri 16 May 14

Evil Flanker says...

Dai Rear wrote:
Because of the absurd taxation in Little Britain it's open season for importing baccy and it's a backroom industry. Anyone with the ability to hire a white van to Calais and a few stooges to drive the van is in business. If our state can't get taxation right this is one of the consequences just as cash in hand is a consequence of over-taxation of income in France
Agree completely, and no-one I know who jumps on a ferry to buy their baccy funds terrorism, seems like propaganda to me.
[quote][p][bold]Dai Rear[/bold] wrote: Because of the absurd taxation in Little Britain it's open season for importing baccy and it's a backroom industry. Anyone with the ability to hire a white van to Calais and a few stooges to drive the van is in business. If our state can't get taxation right this is one of the consequences just as cash in hand is a consequence of over-taxation of income in France[/p][/quote]Agree completely, and no-one I know who jumps on a ferry to buy their baccy funds terrorism, seems like propaganda to me. Evil Flanker
  • Score: 5

8:52am Fri 16 May 14

Woodgnome says...

I see the logic, brilliant -- if terrorism is funded one way then it must be OK the other way - so let's do nothing at all!
The answer is to try and educate the poor baccy slaves that they are in fact killing themselves and others.
I see the logic, brilliant -- if terrorism is funded one way then it must be OK the other way - so let's do nothing at all! The answer is to try and educate the poor baccy slaves that they are in fact killing themselves and others. Woodgnome
  • Score: -5

9:21am Fri 16 May 14

Baldrobins says...

The reason they are spreading this utter nonsense is only due to the TAX the gov are losing from the trade in illegal tobacco. Apparently if you mention TERRORISM in an article it will open the public’s eyes. But the public are a bit more educated to the ways the gov spread misinformation to aid their needs. Soon you will see a TAX added to the smokers whom have chosen to use e-gigs (vaping) to give up the tobacco that is harmful to them. They will get some scientists to declare some kind of issue with the liquid they use. As the loss of the tax gained from these smokers is a necessity. Also the big one for the gov at the moment is GLOBAL WARMING and how we the public can be taxed against this. Do you remember the 'HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER?' WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?....... Global warming is a process the earth goes through on a cycle of thousands of years. It is not down to human habitation and they are struggling to get a scientist to find actual proof of this. It’s about time we all woke up and started standing against the propaganda our gov dishes out.
The reason they are spreading this utter nonsense is only due to the TAX the gov are losing from the trade in illegal tobacco. Apparently if you mention TERRORISM in an article it will open the public’s eyes. But the public are a bit more educated to the ways the gov spread misinformation to aid their needs. Soon you will see a TAX added to the smokers whom have chosen to use e-gigs (vaping) to give up the tobacco that is harmful to them. They will get some scientists to declare some kind of issue with the liquid they use. As the loss of the tax gained from these smokers is a necessity. Also the big one for the gov at the moment is GLOBAL WARMING and how we the public can be taxed against this. Do you remember the 'HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER?' WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?....... Global warming is a process the earth goes through on a cycle of thousands of years. It is not down to human habitation and they are struggling to get a scientist to find actual proof of this. It’s about time we all woke up and started standing against the propaganda our gov dishes out. Baldrobins
  • Score: 14

9:57am Fri 16 May 14

jimmysmith says...

Propaganda at its best ( on a par with the BBC) most contraband tobacco is actually made in this country and smuggled back in from france and belgium .
as for funding terrorism in african countries thats in the guise of foreign aide
cameron and hague have been funding the terrorists in syria ,libya and they are the same bunch that are killing our soldiers in afghanistan and iraq .All this is common knowledge with the obvious exceptions being within political circles and certain media
Propaganda at its best ( on a par with the BBC) most contraband tobacco is actually made in this country and smuggled back in from france and belgium . as for funding terrorism in african countries thats in the guise of foreign aide cameron and hague have been funding the terrorists in syria ,libya and they are the same bunch that are killing our soldiers in afghanistan and iraq .All this is common knowledge with the obvious exceptions being within political circles and certain media jimmysmith
  • Score: 11

1:03pm Fri 16 May 14

Llanmartinangel says...

Baldrobins wrote:
The reason they are spreading this utter nonsense is only due to the TAX the gov are losing from the trade in illegal tobacco. Apparently if you mention TERRORISM in an article it will open the public’s eyes. But the public are a bit more educated to the ways the gov spread misinformation to aid their needs. Soon you will see a TAX added to the smokers whom have chosen to use e-gigs (vaping) to give up the tobacco that is harmful to them. They will get some scientists to declare some kind of issue with the liquid they use. As the loss of the tax gained from these smokers is a necessity. Also the big one for the gov at the moment is GLOBAL WARMING and how we the public can be taxed against this. Do you remember the 'HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER?' WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?....... Global warming is a process the earth goes through on a cycle of thousands of years. It is not down to human habitation and they are struggling to get a scientist to find actual proof of this. It’s about time we all woke up and started standing against the propaganda our gov dishes out.
That has a ring of truth about it. Half of old Gordon's tax increases were 'excused' on environmental grounds or some other dubious premise. Why can't they be honest and say we keep needing more tax money because we keep giving it away to people who didn't earn it. Like the £12b in foreign aid.
[quote][p][bold]Baldrobins[/bold] wrote: The reason they are spreading this utter nonsense is only due to the TAX the gov are losing from the trade in illegal tobacco. Apparently if you mention TERRORISM in an article it will open the public’s eyes. But the public are a bit more educated to the ways the gov spread misinformation to aid their needs. Soon you will see a TAX added to the smokers whom have chosen to use e-gigs (vaping) to give up the tobacco that is harmful to them. They will get some scientists to declare some kind of issue with the liquid they use. As the loss of the tax gained from these smokers is a necessity. Also the big one for the gov at the moment is GLOBAL WARMING and how we the public can be taxed against this. Do you remember the 'HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER?' WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?....... Global warming is a process the earth goes through on a cycle of thousands of years. It is not down to human habitation and they are struggling to get a scientist to find actual proof of this. It’s about time we all woke up and started standing against the propaganda our gov dishes out.[/p][/quote]That has a ring of truth about it. Half of old Gordon's tax increases were 'excused' on environmental grounds or some other dubious premise. Why can't they be honest and say we keep needing more tax money because we keep giving it away to people who didn't earn it. Like the £12b in foreign aid. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 7

2:59pm Fri 16 May 14

Woodgnome says...

The "experts" on tax and terrorism who comment in the SWA comments sections haven't a clue what they are on about and make it up as they go along or else quote bar room tosh. I really do fear for this country.
The "experts" on tax and terrorism who comment in the SWA comments sections haven't a clue what they are on about and make it up as they go along or else quote bar room tosh. I really do fear for this country. Woodgnome
  • Score: -2

3:31pm Fri 16 May 14

Good Job No Kids says...

"THE smokers buying cheap, illegal cigarettes in Newport could be funding terrorist operations around the world – that’s the message from those looking to crack down on the trade. "

What a spurious and unfounded claim, the author of this should hang their head in shame.
"THE smokers buying cheap, illegal cigarettes in Newport could be funding terrorist operations around the world – that’s the message from those looking to crack down on the trade. " What a spurious and unfounded claim, the author of this should hang their head in shame. Good Job No Kids
  • Score: -2

4:40pm Fri 16 May 14

GaryUK says...

Funding terrorism? Bit of a bold statement! Obviously this is what the authorities stoop to when they see lost taxes. If the UK reduced their enormous taxes on fags and tobacco then people wouldnt buy it off the blackmarket. It doesnt take a genius to work out that if people are being ripped off then they will look for a cheaper source.
Funding terrorism? Bit of a bold statement! Obviously this is what the authorities stoop to when they see lost taxes. If the UK reduced their enormous taxes on fags and tobacco then people wouldnt buy it off the blackmarket. It doesnt take a genius to work out that if people are being ripped off then they will look for a cheaper source. GaryUK
  • Score: 6

10:31pm Fri 16 May 14

dbwb says...

“The proceeds from smuggling tobacco products are often used to fund other forms of serious and organised crime such as smuggling of drugs and weapons, and human trafficking.”

Do they seriously believe (and expect the public to so also) that the profits from drug/weapons smuggling and human trafficking are so low as to need a cash injection via white van man? Then again, you reap what you sow - perhaps the world would be a safer place if they didn't rip off consumers with extortionate taxes.....
“The proceeds from smuggling tobacco products are often used to fund other forms of serious and organised crime such as smuggling of drugs and weapons, and human trafficking.” Do they seriously believe (and expect the public to so also) that the profits from drug/weapons smuggling and human trafficking are so low as to need a cash injection via white van man? Then again, you reap what you sow - perhaps the world would be a safer place if they didn't rip off consumers with extortionate taxes..... dbwb
  • Score: 1

12:56pm Sat 17 May 14

Dai Rear says...

Woodgnome wrote:
The "experts" on tax and terrorism who comment in the SWA comments sections haven't a clue what they are on about and make it up as they go along or else quote bar room tosh. I really do fear for this country.
You don't need "expertise " to pay 10 euros in Tenerife for cigars which would cost you £50 in Little Britain, so I'm simply commenting from knowledge. Try again.
But I agree. The country is badly governed by 2 centre left parties whilst the third believes in the Rent Acts and rationing. One hopes someone will grow up.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: The "experts" on tax and terrorism who comment in the SWA comments sections haven't a clue what they are on about and make it up as they go along or else quote bar room tosh. I really do fear for this country.[/p][/quote]You don't need "expertise " to pay 10 euros in Tenerife for cigars which would cost you £50 in Little Britain, so I'm simply commenting from knowledge. Try again. But I agree. The country is badly governed by 2 centre left parties whilst the third believes in the Rent Acts and rationing. One hopes someone will grow up. Dai Rear
  • Score: -1

9:48am Mon 19 May 14

Captain Runaway says...

Kim Jong Il: It will be 911 times 2356.
Chris: My God, that's... I don't even know what that is!
Kim Jong Il: Nobody does!
Kim Jong Il: It will be 911 times 2356. Chris: My God, that's... I don't even know what that is! Kim Jong Il: Nobody does! Captain Runaway
  • Score: 0

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