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Up in smoke…

2:17 pm, Friday, 1st September 2023 - 10 months ago


Fake tobacco worth more than £240,000 has been incinerated at the borough’s Energy from Waste plant.

The majority of the commodity was seized in 2021 and has been held securely while a court case was ongoing.

The raid in November last year, led to the largest ever seizure of illegal cigarettes and tobacco in the borough. Trading standards officers and police found 386,760 illegal cigarettes and 290 pouches of illegal tobacco, worth in excess of £227,000.

Added to this are the product from three smaller seizures this year, meaning there is a total of approximately 620 kg to burn, made up of 395540 cigarettes (19777 packs), 450 pouches tobacco (22.5 kg) worth in excess of £240,000 combined.

As previously reported, two people were convicted in July this year for the major haul, resulting in suspended custodial sentences.

Cllr Ron Shepherd Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities whose responsibility covers enforcement across the Borough said: “Selling illicit and counterfeit goods can damage local businesses and undermine the local economy. Providing cigarettes at pocket money prices encourages people to continue to smoke and makes it easier for young people to access them.

“These types of products do not meet safety standards and are putting lives at risk because they do not self-extinguish if left unattended, therefore, increasing the risk of house fires. Not only has no duty been paid on them but they’ve not been tested to ensure they’re safe. It must also be reiterated, however, that any cigarettes or tobacco, legitimate or not, are seriously harmful to your health.”

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

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