Customs officers and police seized nearly £3m worth of tobacco after a raid at an illegal factory in West Norfolk, thought to be part of an organised crime.
The location of the raid has not been disclosed as enquiries are continuing, but an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) spokesman said the illegal processing factory was discovered at a rural address in Norfolk, but near Wisbech.
HMRC also said it was suspected the site was under the control of an organised crime gang.
When officials and Norfolk Police officers searched the site on July 14, they seized 9.3 tonnes of tobacco, including 1.2 tonnes of processed tobacco, found in a van stopped from leaving the factory, and £12,000 in cash.
Cutting and drying machinery used in the manufacture of tobacco was also dismantled and removed.
Adam Kingsgate, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Cheap cigarettes come at a cost, as they often fund organised crime and other illegal activity that causes real harm to our communities, such as drugs, guns and human trafficking.
“Smugglers are criminals who don’t care who they sell to, including children. That’s why disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market.
“We encourage anyone with information regarding the smuggling, storage or sale of illegal tobacco to report it to HMRC online.”
No arrests were made. Information about tobacco or tax fraud can be reported at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business