The South West sees black market cigarette packs soar
A THIRD of black market cigarettes in the region are either illegal or purchased outside of the UK, a new survey has revealed.
An Empty Discarded Pack Collection Survey by MSIntelligence has shown the increasing use of bootlegged, smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes in the South West.
The 'non domestic' rate in the South West rose from 14.7 per cent in 2011 to 32.8 per cent in 2012.
That means almost a third of all cigarettes smoked in the South West are contributing nothing to the exchequer.
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The survey also shows that the level of non-duty paid cigarettes increased nationally to 26.4 per cent, the highest level recorded since the survey started in 2008.
Will O'Reilly is a former Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector and since November 2011 he has been conducting research to gain intelligence and understanding of the illicit trade in cigarettes across the United Kingdom. Mr O'Reilly said: "Just as armed robberies of the 70s and 80s made way for the drugs trade and large-scale fraud in the 90s, so a new crime of choice has emerged, which carries even less risk and even greater profits. The trade in illicit tobacco has become the primary source of revenue for some criminal gangs and terrorist groups "