PARAMILITARY organisations have been blamed for the widespread proliferation of illegal cigarettes in the borough.
A survey has found that smokers in Newtownabbey are more likely to be puffing on illegal cigarettes than anyone else in the entirety of the UK.
Two out of every three packs bought in the borough between October and December last year were found to have originated from the black market, according to the survey by tobacco manufacturer, Philip Morris.
Will O’Reilly, a former Inspector with Scotland Yard warned smokers to be wary of illicit cigarettes.
He said: “The same networks who have historically dealt in hard drugs, illegal firearms, people trafficking and terrorism are now founding or organising this illicit trade.
“If you buy a cheap packet of cigarettes that money ends up supporting organised crime.”