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9th February 2023, 20:11

As Govt attempts to crack down on tobacco smuggling, more Special Zones added to list in Tobacco Act

Published by GBC News

The area of Eaton Park, as well as the area behind Northview Terraces and the new Forbes building, have been added to the list of Special Zones under the Tobacco Act 1997.

Number Six says this enhances Customs and Police Officers’ powers of ‘Stop and Search’ and allows them to ask individuals suspected of being involved in illicit tobacco activity to leave the area.

Failure to do so will constitute a criminal offence.

The definition of a ‘commercial quantity’ of cigarettes is also restricted to 600 cigarettes as opposed to 2000 as in all other areas of Gibraltar.

The Collector of Customs has highlighted the importance of this inclusion in the legislation. John Payas, says: ‘Customs is using all avenues - legal and operational - to disrupt illicit tobacco activity and the antisocial behaviour that accompanies it.’

The Chief Minister says that since they were elected in 2011, his Government has been increasing the powers available to Customs and Police Officers to curb illicit activity.

Fabian Picardo claims they have reduced the activity greatly, adding this new measure, at the request of the Collector, adds to the arsenal of measures available to law enforcement agencies in the battle against that illicit trade.

He adds they will do more to stop this activity whenever requested by law enforcement agencies to do so.

The changes in legislation follow an incident at Eastern Beach last week where a gang suspected of smuggling tobacco attacked two Spanish SVA officers and where shots were fired by the officers.