Three men have been charged after more than four million illicit cigarettes were discovered in a Glasgow warehouse.

Teams from HM Revenue and Customs say the goods found on Thursday are believed to be worth an estimated £1.6 million in lost duty and taxes.

The discovery also led to the uncovering of a tobacco factory in South Lanarkshire.


The premises in Hamilton was dismantled, with two industrial mixing machines, a tobacco shredding machine and 54kg of tobacco seized.

Three men from Airdrie aged between 25 and 34 were arrested and charged with Excise Duty fraud and money laundering offences.

Joe Hendry, assistant director, fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “This is another example of the combined powers our partners at the Scottish Crime Campus and Serious Organised Crime Taskforce have to disrupt, detect and deter the illicit trade of tobacco and other forms of criminality.

“Tackling criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £1.9 billion a year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.


“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of cigarettes to report it to HMRC online at or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

As part of the operation, 50 HMRC officers executed several warrants across Glasgow and Lanarkshire on Thursday along with eight colleagues from Police Scotland.

The three men have been released pending further investigation.