Thousands of illicit cigarettes and a quantity of hand rolling tobacco have been seized from a Stafford shop.
Staffordshire County Council trading standards officers, aided by a sniffer dog, raided the shop in addition to two residential properties. The premises were targeted as part of an intelligence-led operation to tackle illicit tobacco sales.
In total, they found approximately 9,880 cigarettes, believed to be fake or illegal, and 12.85kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco. It is the latest in a series of countywide visits by the trading standards team. Trading standards officers, who were supported by Staffordshire Police, are now considering further enforcement action. Cigarettes uncovered are thought to have been illegally imported and previously supplied at the shop. In addition, cartons of Mayfair cigarettes were found, which are thought to be counterfeit. The raid took place on Wednesday March 29.
Trading standards manager Tony Shore said:
We responded to intelligence and successfully disrupted the supply of potentially dangerous tobacco and cigarettes in Stafford. This is part of our ongoing operation to tackle the sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco in Staffordshire. Illicit cigarettes can be especially dangerous as they do not extinguish if left, which legitimate ones do. Counterfeit sales also damage businesses and can fund criminal gangs. We are always grateful to people who report suspected sales of illicit tobacco – the information they give really can make a difference.”
Anyone with information on illicit tobacco sales can contact the trading standards team confidentially on 01785 330356.