More than 10,000 illict cigarettes seized by trading standards
More than 10,000 cigarettes were seized and a man arrested during a trading standards led operation against illicit tobacco dealing in Grimsby last week.
A magnetic hatch was found at a Freeman Street shop that led to a hiding space in a suspended ceiling where there were traces to show illicit products had been stored.
Trading standards officers were joined by colleagues from Humberside Police and sniffer dog handlers BWY Canine as they visited two shops in Freeman Street, a home on the Willows estate and a shop and nearby property in Immingham.
A man had to be stopped by police after he was spotted running out the back of a Freeman Street shop carrying a large holdall of illicit tobacco products. Officers also searched a nearby car and found more contraband in the boot.
More illicit cigarettes and rolling tobacco were found hidden in the boot of another car at an home on the Willows.
In total 10,080 illicit cigarettes were seized (of which 4,000 are counterfeit) and 17.4 kg of rolling tobacco (of which 1.3kg is counterfeit).
The haul has a street value of £4,800 and legitimate would cost £11,478 to buy legitimately. A man was arrested during the operation for an outstanding court warrant.
Cllr Hazel Chase, cabinet member responsible for public protection at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“Wednesday’s operation brings the total number of cigarettes seized to 612,088 since our clampdown started in 2014.
“In that time we’ve also seized 653.138kg and secured 11 convictions in court. The total street value of the product seized is £217,687 and would cost £528,859 to be the legitimate equivalent.
“We’ve seen illicit tobacco dealers going to extraordinary lengths to hide their products, but we will keep up the pressure to disrupt this criminal trade.”
Trading standards manager Neil Clark added:
“I’m grateful to the work of our partners in this case, by pooling resources and sharing intelligence we’re sending a clear message that we won’t tolerate the trade in illicit cigarettes and tobacco.
“You can help make a difference by reporting it to us. Report it in confidence by calling trading standards on 01472 326299 (option 3).”
Inspector Neil Pattison from Humberside Police said:
“Counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco can represent significant health risks for local communities and are often linked to those involved in organised crime.
“We will continue to work with local partner agencies to tackle these issues, however we need the support of the community.
“If you have information about offenders selling counterfeit or illicit tobacco products in your community report it now.”