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Pictures: Gardaí and Revenue have 'dismantled' Ireland's first ever illegal cigarette factory in Co Louth

The factory was raided at its location in Jenkinstown, Co Louth, this morning at 8am.

4 Just some of the 25 million cigarettes seized earlier Source: Revenue

AN ILLEGAL CIGARETTE factory in Co Louth has been closed down by gardaí as apart of a joint operation with the Revenue Commissioners.

The factory, located at Jenkinstown in the Leinster county, was ‘dismantled’ this morning in Revenue’s own words.

It is the first time such a commercial (and illegal) production plant has been discovered on these shores.

“The factory was in full operation when Revenue officers and the Armed Support Unit of An Garda Síochána entered the premises just before 8am this morning,” Revenue said in a statement.

2 (1) A packet of cigarettes with 'Mayfair' branding seen passing through the production process at the illegal factory Source: Revenue

5 Source: Revenue

11 men, aged between their late 20s and late 50s, were arrested as part of the operation and brought to Dundalk Garda Station. All are from Eastern Europe.

8 Jenkinstown, Co Louth Source: Google Maps

The find constituted more than 40 tons of tobacco, “all the precursor components” for the manufacture of cigarettes, and about 25 million cigarettes with a ‘Mayfair’ brand, which were ready for distribution.

3 (1) Source: Revenue

1 (1) Source: Revenue

“This was a sophisticated self-contained operation with machinery capable of producing 250, 000 illicit cigarettes per hour and pre-processing, processing and packaging facilities, along with living quarters,” a Revenue spokesperson said.

Illicit cigarettes that originated in this factory have previously been seized in both Ireland and the UK. If the finished cigarettes seized at the factory today had reached the Irish market, the estimated loss to the Exchequer would have been approximately €12 million.

Investigations into the nature of the factory are ongoing, they said, both nationally and internationally.

Read: Filmbase to go into liquidation after 32 years

Read: Trinity students to stop occupying building – but will keep protesting until resit exam fees are scrapped

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