Stones thrown in Customs tobacco incident

Stones thrown in Customs tobacco incident

Customs officers were pelted with stones after intercepting a group of tobacco smugglers just off Western Beach on Friday evening.

The incident started out in the bay at 6.30pm when a Customs rigid-hulled inflatable boat chased a small vessel that was acting suspiciously.

The vessel manoeuvred close to the area known as Brazo Gitano, on the Spanish side opposite Western Beach.

“Staying within BGTW our officers shadowed the Spanish vessel and informed Guardia Civil that they had observed this vessel and that it appeared to be carrying several cases of tobacco,” a spokesman for HM Customs told the Chronicle.

“A number of individuals on the Spanish pier then started to shout abuse and throw stones at our officers.”
“We then had to pull back to a safe distance and request assistance from Guardia Civil again.”

Vessels from the Royal Gibraltar Police and the Gibraltar Defence Police also attended the incident.
At all time, Gibraltar’s law enforcement agencies remained in British waters, according to the Gibraltar Government.

“Guardia Civil officers arrived at the scene but when the smugglers saw them, they beached the vessel on the Spanish side of Western Beach and made good their escape,” the Customs spokesman said.

“Guardia Civil later informed us that they had seized the vessel and four cases of cigarettes.”
“There were no injuries to our officers or damage to our RHIB.”

Yesterday the Guardia Civil confirmed that it had seized 1,618 packets of cigarettes and arrested one of the men involved, who admitted ownership of the tobacco.

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