HM REVENUE and Customs (HMRC) is seeking the public’s help to identify two men who may help an investigation into illicit tobacco found in Bradford.

HMRC released images of the men in July this year after officers discovered 1.7 million cigarettes and 86 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco at a self-storage site near the city centre on Wednesday, January 18, 2019. The goods, worth an estimated £534,592 in unpaid duty, were found in three storage containers.

One of the men attended the storage facility the next day and enquired about the units where the cigarettes were discovered.

The other man is believed to have arranged to rent one of the units.

HMRC wants anyone who recognises the men to call 0800 788 887 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and quote reference 54014.

Eden Noblett, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “We want to create a level playing field for legitimate traders who play by the rules and we’re doing that by cracking down on the annual £1.8 billion trade in illicit cigarettes.

"What’s more, criminal activity of this kind often goes far beyond just tobacco smuggling, into drugs, violent crime and money laundering, creating a very real danger to local communities.

“We also ask the public if they have information about the sale, smuggling, storage or distribution of illicit tobacco, to report it to HMRC online or call the Fraud Hotline.”