British authorities are planning to burn 8.5 million illegal cigarettes to produce power for the National Grid, according to the Daily Mail. The cigarettes were seized after an inspection of a container from Malaysia that was supposed to contain fabric.
UK Border Force Officers at the Port of Felixstowe believe the cigarettes were bound for illegal vendors in pubs and nightclubs. Had the scam come off the UK taxpayer would have lost the equivalent of £2.5m in tax.
Charlotte Mann, acting deputy director for Border Force, said: “We have stopped a major smuggling attempt and starved those responsible of the proceeds of their criminality.”
This is not the first time illegal cigarettes have been used to power British homes and businesses. In May 16.5 million cigarettes imported by a couple from Manchester were burned for energy. The cargo was initially lost at sea but was partially washed up in Devon, where it was collected up and taken to be burned.
The consignment was on-board the Svendborg Maersk when it was battered with 30ft waves and wind of 60 knots off the coast of Northern France. Authorities have confirmed that if any further cigarettes are washed up they will send them to be incinerated.
Energy from waste plants are becoming more popular in the UK because the European Union has piled on “landfill tax” to stop local authorities from burying waste. The aim of the rules – aside from revenue raising – is to force councils to recycle, but much of the rubbish is unsuitable for this purpose.
The energy from waste plants used for the incineration of illegal cigarettes employ carbon capture technology, this means people living near it will not be able to smell cigarette smoke. They remain controversial as there is an assumption by residents living near proposed sites that they will cause large scale pollution, although this is generally not borne out once they are build.
The smuggling of cigarettes has become a major problem in Britain as cigarette tax has grown so much that tobacco is one of the most profitable items to traffic. A recent House of Commons report suggested that UK tax has not been paid around 10 percent of cigarettes smoked in the UK, 36 percent of hand rolling tobacco is also not taxed in the UK.
The problem of illegal cigarettes is likely to be compounded by the growing trade in counterfeit cigarettes. As previously reported on Breitbart London countries like Australia now have a major problem with increased smoking and the growth in counterfeiting thanks to plain packaging.