MORE than 1.6 million cigarettes were seized by customs officers who raided a self-storage unit site in Bradford city centre.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers, with a tobacco detection dog, visited a self-storage site near the city centre on Wednesday.

During the raid customs officers discovered a massive haul of 1,666,520 cigarettes and almost 50 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, inside two units at the storage site.

The tobacco products, which are believed to be illicit and worth an estimated £661,229 in unpaid duty, were seized by HMRC and investigations are ongoing. No arrests were made.

Joanne Bagnall, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.3 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“Cheap cigarettes come at a cost, as they often fund organised crime and other illegal activity that causes real harm to our communities. We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online.”