Customs officers have made one of their biggest seizures of contraband cigarettes in Cork following two operations, one of which resulted a sniffer dog finding them concealed in mannequins.
With the assistance of gardaí, customs officers raided a commercial premises in the city where they used their sniffer dog Harvey to smell out 42,000 unstamped NZ Slim cigarettes, which were concealed in several mannequins.
A far larger seizure was later made when customs pounced on the delivery of more contraband cigarettes in Skibbereen, Co Cork.
Follow-up searches in the town led to the discovery of 403,000 NZ Slims and Septs.
During the course of the operation customs officer seized a UK-registered van. Two Polish men and a man from Lithuania were also detained and questioned.
A Revenue Commissioners spokeswoman said files were being prepared for a possible prosecution and added that all three men who were questioned are in their 30s.
The total seizure of the 445,000 non-duty paid cigarettes had a potential retail value of about €222,500 and the spokeswoman said it was part of an ongoing operation to tackle smuggling.
People with information about the sale of illegal cigarettes or tobacco can contact Customs officers in confidence on freephone number 1800 295 295.
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