Two men were arrested after a major seizure of illegal cigarettes in Co Louth late last night.

Around 8m cigarettes were seized by customs officials on the M1 near the toll plaza at Drogheda.

They said the 'Benson and Hedges' cigarettes arrived into Dublin Port on a container from China.

The two men were arrested when revenue officials stopped two trucks containing the huge haul. The trucks have also been seized.

As part of an intelligence-led operation the container was classed as 'high risk' and customs officers followed it. The lorry, and a smaller truck, were stopped as they headed north last night by a force of around 24 customs officers and gardaí.

According to customs officers, the criminal gang behind the operation would have paid around 70 cent per carton of 200 cigarettes and expected to sell them on the black market for up to €40 each.

It is believed the cigarettes were destined for the Irish and UK markets.