CUSTOMS officers seized 4.2 million cigarettes last night in the largest counterfeit haul ever landed in the Port of Cork.
John Player Blue cigarettes were found among a cargo of Chinese-manufactured swimwear which arrived at Tivoli docks in a container.
A routine operation by customs officers at the docks uncovered the illegal cigarettes, which would have cost the Revenue an estimated €1.2 million in lost taxes.
Customs officers said the cigarettes would have been sold on the Irish market for €4.50 to €5 a packet. Sources said they would have cost only a couple of cents each to produce.
It is believed some contraband cigarettes are manufactured in “non-controlled” environments where they risk being contaminated with rats’ urine, human faeces or carcinogenic chemicals.
Two weeks ago 860,000 cigarettes and a huge quantity of tobacco were seized in a joint customs/garda operation in Carrignavar.
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