FIVE men have been charged with evading £3.2 million of excise duty after 300,000 suspected illicit cigarettes were seized in raids.
Officers from Police Scotland and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also found tens of thousands of pounds in cash when they searched four homes and two commercial properties across Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Glasgow.
The cigarettes that were seized are estimated to be worth £96,300 in lost duty and VAT.
The five men, who are aged 40, 44, 45, 47 and 51, have been arrested and charged with the evasion of £3.2 million of excise duty under the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979.
All five have been released and a report will be submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
Anne-Marie Gordon, assistant director, criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “Tobacco smuggling is organised crime on a global scale. It steals business from honest shopkeepers and money from taxpayers.
“It also encourages criminality within our communities and HMRC is determined to stamp it out. We urge anyone with information about suspect tobacco to contact us on the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”