A MAN has been arrested after more than 600,000 cigarettes were found in his van on the motorway.

Police Scotland stopped the vehicle on the M74 in Lanarkshire last Friday where they found the haul in the back of the van.

Thousands of packs of the alleged illicit cigarettes were seized by police, who notified HMRC.

The customs authority estimated the duty lost on the cigarettes to be around £185,000.

A 32-year-old man from Coventry was arrested and taken to Motherwell police station, where he was subsequently charged with excise duty fraud.

Joe Hendry, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “We are committed to disrupting the distribution of illicit tobacco across the UK and levelling the playing field for local businesses who cannot compete with criminal competitors.

Gary Tickner, a road policing inspector with Police Scotland, said: “We continue to work closely with partner agencies to detect and disrupt criminal activity in our communities.”