Officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigating a suspected excise fraud in excess of £20m arrested five people during early morning raids across South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
Around 60 investigators from HMRC, assisted by officers from South Yorkshire Police and Nottinghamshire Police carried out searches on commercial and residential properties in Doncaster (South Yorkshire), Retford and Newark (Nottinghamshire). The long running operation codenamed Hornbeam is investigating the evasion of excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco, and money laundering.
HMRC’s Assistant Director for criminal investigation Peter Hollier comments:
“Today’s raids are the culmination of months of work by HMRC officers involved in Operation Hornbeam. At present I am unable to give further details as our investigations are continuing, however today’s activities send a clear message to those tempted to become mixed up in crimes of this nature – we take excise fraud and the trade in smuggled tobacco goods extremely seriously and will pursue anyone believed to be actively involved in this type of crime.”
Investigations into this matter are currently ongoing.