IN a scene more like a scene from Miami Vice, Gibraltar customs officers were involved in a frantic night time chase that saw a pair of suspected smugglers escaping over the border.
The drama took place on Friday when two men were challenged after being seen creeping along the edge of Eastern Beach.
Each was carrying a big black holdall and, realising that they had been spotted, began running towards the frontier fence at the top of the runway.
Officers gave chase but the two men dumped their cargo and somehow managed to escape empty-handed to Spain.
A search of the bags found them to contain 11,000 cigarettes (55 cartons).
The drama was just the latest in a series of seizures of both tobacco and drugs by customs officers. There has been a sharp increase in the smuggling of tobacco into Spain, which is 40% cheaper in Gibraltar, since the economic crisis began.
Smugglers make on average €5 per carton sold.
Last year, the Spanish government says, it seized 139 million illegal cigarettes smuggled in from Gibraltar, more than double the figure for 2009.