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Haul of illicit tobacco and cigarettes discovered at shops in Grimsby

11:16 am, Friday, 18th June 2021 - 3 years ago


North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team, accompanied by Humberside Police, have uncovered a haul of illicit tobacco and cigarettes during an operation in Grimsby.

Three shops in Freeman Street were inspected on the afternoon of Thursday 17 June.

Illegal products were seized from all three locations and an estimated 30,000 cigarettes and several kilos of tobacco were seized.

This activity took place under Operation CeCe, which is a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco.

Any illegal products found will be subject to a criminal investigation, with prosecution of any identified offenders to be pursued.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “This discovery is just the latest in a continuing joint operation by Trading Standards and Humberside Police to uncover illicit tobacco products in our borough.

“These products do not meet safety standards and are putting lives at risk.

“Each inspection that we carry out disrupts the supply chain.

“With the support of the public, we can bring an end to this trade. People can make a difference by reporting any suspicions they might have to Trading Standards. We need to keep the pressure up on those who sell it.”

He added: “We will act on information received and enforce where necessary. We are operating a robust enforcement policy, working with both local and national organisations to reduce illicit tobacco sales.”

PS Claire Jacobs added: “It might seem like we’re just taking cheap tobacco off the streets but we’re doing it to protect you – these are not victimless crimes.

“This offending is used to fund organised crime gangs and has been linked to modern day slavery and human trafficking operations.

“When you buy these products, you could also be putting your own health at risk. Not only has no duty been paid on them but they’ve not been tested to ensure they’re safe.

“Counterfeit tobacco products often contain all kinds of harmful substances.

“We hope that this latest action will send a stark warning to anyone involved in this type of crime, that we will seek every avenue to disrupt them.”

“If you have information about counterfeit goods in your area call us on our non-emergency number 101 and let us help make our communities safer for everyone.”

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