“Smugglers” Episode 1, 5th April 2011 on ITV1

Customs officers count cigarettes that had been concealed in coffee tins © ITV

This addictive series follows border patrol and customs staff as they try to stem the tide of illegal drugs imports into the UK as well as police duty evasion. The unbelievable scale of drugs smuggling and illegal cigarette imports make for riveting viewing.

See how drug smugglers engineer special vehicles, compartments and hiding places for cocaine, heroine, cannabis, amphetamine and new versions of each drug which catch the seasoned veterans out.

On the other side of the officers’ day is the “national sport” of cigarette smuggling, which is only a crime in the UK when it exceeds the officially designated allowance for personal use. Authorities assume that anything above this limit has been bought for sale in the UK and duty must be paid on it. Holidaymakers returning from a cruise in the Canaries are targeted by officials who find a surprising amount of contraband.

Out at sea and on land at Dover ferry terminal the customs officers are hard at work, 24 hours a day, trying to stay one step ahead of the smuggling networks.

“Smugglers” Episode 1 airs at 9pm on Tuesday 5th April 2011 on ITV1 for UK viewers only.

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