HM Customs officers, during the early hours of this morning, were involved in curtailing a tobacco smuggling operation in the area of the Small Boats Marina. The land crew arrested five individuals concerned with the illegal exportation of a commercial quantity of cigarettes. Simultaneously, two patrol vessels engaged in a high speed chase of a small RHIB with two occupants on board, carrying boxes of tobacco. The coxswain performed evasive manoeuvres in an attempt to escape and in such process the passenger, together with three master cases (150 cartons), fell into the sea. The individual was rescued and arrested on several tobacco related offences concerning the recovered cigarettes. The second person managed to flee into Spain.
This incident is another reminder of the risks taken by the smugglers engaged in this illicit activity; and the difficult and dangerous scenarios that officers find themselves bravely working in, both on land and at sea.