A haul of 2.5million illegal cigarettes was found in a Twickenham self-storage unit hidden among washing machines.

The cigarettes, which Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs estimates represent a £500,000 loss to its own purse, had arrived from Poland and were seized on September 4.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of smuggling, two men from Hounslow aged 38 and 41, and one 46-year-old from Poland.

They were interviewed under caution and bailed until December.

David Margree, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service said: "The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.

"Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK over £2billion a year in stolen revenue.

"This is theft from the taxpayer and money that should be funding our public services."

Call the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 if you have any information about illegal alcohol or tobacco sales.