A consignment of 9,780 illegal handmade cigars went up in smoke for a man who had his stash seized by the Guardia Civil.

The motorist, 70, got twitchy when driving in the Villena area of Alicante Province as he spotted a Guardia checkpoint looming up down the road.

He made an evasive manoeuvre prompting suspicious officers to chase him in their patrol vehicle.

They got him to pull over and smelt a strong tobacco odour wafting out of the car boot.

On opening the trunk, they discovered six large cardboard boxes with 9,780 hand-rolled Calico cigars inside.

The retail value was under €8,000.

The ten-centimetre long cigars had a rough appearance and were laced with sugar to mask the bitter taste of the home concoction.

The clandestine dealer could be fined up to €27,000 for his transgression.

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