Customs officials warned smokers to steer clear of smuggled tobacco today - after finding a stash of illicit cigarettes concealed in a sewer.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said the find in Dudley, West Midlands, was made at the home of a milkman who had also hidden tobacco among milk, eggs and bread on his delivery van.
Around 16,000 cigarettes and 2.5kg of hand-rolling tobacco were seized from the 50-year-old's address near Dudley town centre on Saturday.
Keith Morgan, senior detection officer for HMRC, said part of the stash was found in drains underneath a manhole cover, where a metal plate had been fixed to house the contraband.
"We are constantly warning people of the dangers of buying cheap tobacco products, which are unlicensed and unregulated," Mr Morgan said.
"Unfortunately, this latest seizure shows they were being stored in the most unhygienic conditions imaginable - in the sewers.
"This detection will horrify the public and will reinforce the importance of our messages of the nature and antics of those involved in this form of criminality."
Further investigations are under way pending potential criminal charges, Mr Morgan added.Reuse content