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Customs seize illegal knock-offs, tobacco and subsidised fuel

Customs said on Thursday they had made a number of seizures of counterfeit products, tobacco and cigarettes smuggled from the north, hookah pipe tobacco being sneaked though Larnaca airport and subsidised diesel being used in private saloon cars.

In a press release Thursday announcing their successes Customs said police on Wednesday night had stopped and searched a car with Turkish Cypriot plates being driven by a Turkish Cypriot attempting to cross into the government controlled areas through an unauthorised area.

Police discovered 102 shirts and 302 pairs of shoes, all knock-offs of famous brands as well as 800 empty watch boxes also fakes of well-known trademarks in the car. The driver was arrested and the vehicle seized for further scrutiny.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning during a check by customs officers of a passenger arriving on the Qatar flight, an undeclared quantity of 10 kilos of hookah tobacco for nargile pipes was discovered. The traveller was arrested and the tobacco seized. The man was released after agreeing to paying a €2,100 fine and forfeiting the tobacco.

Customs were also kept busy in the areas in and around the British military base of Dhekelia on Thursday when they joined up with the SBA Police to carry out checks to combat the illegal use of tax-free diesel.

A total of 35 cars were tested to see if they were being illicitly fuelled by agricultural, industrial or domestic heating diesel oil. Two of the cars tested were found to be running on industrial diesel while one contained agricultural diesel. All three vehicles were seized but were returned after a total of €2,050 in fines was paid to customs by the owners.

Near the other side of the island, again on Thursday, a coordinated operation by customs and the police took place at Zodia and Astromeritis. Two properties located near the villages, in the buffer zone were search after warrants were issued. Investigators found and seized a total of 350 grammes of tobacco and three cartons of cigarettes which appeared to have been smuggled from the north. Customs came to a €300 out-of-court settlement with the perpetrator.

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