Illegal cargo targeted on A1

REVENUE and Customs officers joined local police in an operation on the A1 on Tuesday night.

Supported by officers from Northumbria and Lothian and Borders police forces, checkpoints were set up on the A1 on both sides of the border looking for vehicles suspected of carrying illegal cargo, such as duty free cigarettes, alcohol and those illegally using red diesel.

A total of 22 vehicles were checked during the overnight operation and officers found two vehicles running illegally on red diesel.

Michael Connolly, regional head of detection for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said: “The A1 is a popular route for the transportation of illicit goods and for commercial fraudsters who run their vehicles illegally on rebated fuel.

“We wanted to specifically target those drivers who think they can outsmart the authorities by using the cover of darkness to avoid detection.

“The transportation and distribution of illegal excise goods is a serious criminal offence and drivers caught with these goods can face prosecution and even a prison sentence if they are found to be knowingly involved.”

Earlier on Tuesday, HMRC officers had raided a number of commercial and residential premises in and around Berwick, including suspected illegal cigarette and alcohol storage sites.

Vehicles thought to be using illegally rebated fuel were also tested, and one driver running his 60 registration Land Rover on red diesel was ordered to pay an on the spot fine of £500.