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Trading Standards search businesses for illegal cigarettes and vapes                    

10:19 am, Friday, 26th January 2024 - 5 months ago


One person was arrested and four shops searched as Trading Standards officers, Humberside Police and specialist tobacco search dogs supplied by B.W.Y. Canine Ltd, executed a number of Magistrates warrants at business premises across North East Lincolnshire this week.

Thousands of vapes, tens of thousands of cigarettes and multiple kilos of hand rolling tobacco were seized in the searches, with officers looking to identify counterfeit and smuggled tobacco products and illegal nicotine inhaling devices (vapes). Prosecutions will be sought against businesses found to be breaching the law.

One of the shops was inspected using Trading Standards powers, and two vehicles were searched. Illegal vapes, tobacco, and cigarettes were seized from four shops and the two vehicles. One person was arrested.

This operation is part of the national partnership between CTSI and HMRC tackling illegal tobacco.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “This joint operation shows just how important it is to work together. Multi-agency operations such as these are keeping these products, that do not meet safety standards and are putting lives at risk, off the streets. We know illicit and fake cigarettes do not comply with the Reduced Ignition Propensity requirements and won’t self-extinguish, so they are likely to start a fire.”

He added: “This illegal trade also has strong links to organised crime and criminal gangs, so buying these products often pours money into people smuggling, drug dealing, money laundering and even terrorism. Even small-time local sellers are at the end of a long criminal chain – selling illegal tobacco and vapes is a crime.

“You can make a difference by reporting any suspicions you may have to Trading Standards on [email protected] or call (01472) 326299, option 3.”

Humberside Police Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Matt Stringer said: “I hope this arrest and the latest seizure of counterfeit and illicit tobacco products shows that we will take every avenue to disrupt those who are involved in this type of criminality.

“Operations such as these have been known to fund organised crime groups, with connections to modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

“When you buy these products, you could also be putting your own health at risk.

“These are not victimless crimes and agencies will continue to support one another- acting on information and intelligence that the public provide.

“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.”

Griff the spaniel, specialist search dog from B.W.Y. Canine Ltd unearths the illegal tobacco products. Photo credit: Stuart Phillips – B.W.Y. Canine Ltd.

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