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Home News £500k worth illicit cigarettes seized in England

£500k worth illicit cigarettes seized in England

April 23, 2022

Credit: Humberside Police

The sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes is rising in England, the trading standard officers in Gloucester and Humberside seized £41,000 and £500,000 worth illegal tobacco and cigarettes respectively.

A joint operation in Hull was conducted on Thursday (21 April) and an estimated £500k worth of illicit cigarettes and tobacco taken off the streets.

Hull Central Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) said upon entering a property, hundreds of thousands of illicit cigarettes and packets of tobacco were uncovered and seized.

One man has been arrested and remains in our custody at this time.

PC Karen Walker, of our Hull Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This has been one of the biggest finds we have had in our fight against illicit cigarettes and tobacco. It took two police vans and one police car to transport the seized goods.

“This is not just a case of taking cheap tobacco off the streets. We do it to protect people and our communities. Operations such as these have been known to fund organised crime groups, with connections to modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

“I hope that this 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.”

Another operation took place on Tuesday (19 April) where iIllegal tobacco with a street value of more than £41,000 was seized by trading standards officers in Gloucester after they were alerted by the police.

“While police were responding to an incident at a property in Southgate Street in Gloucester on 19 April 2022, they forced open a locked entrance to the attic where they found a significant quantity of suspected illegal tobacco and cigarettes” said a county council spokesperson.

“They called trading standards who then attended and seized 6,029 packets of cigarettes and 715 pouches of hand rolling tobacco, which had been stored in bags and boxes.

“There were also several empty boxes, indicating that the original quantity of stored cigarettes and tobacco had been considerably greater.

“The items were examined before they were seized and officers found they did not comply with UK labelling requirements and included counterfeit cigarettes, which had been branded Richmond.

“Excise duty would not have been paid and packs of Marlboro cigarettes also discovered were specifically  marked ‘for duty free sale only’.

“The seized items had a street value  of more than £41,000 and trading standards suspect the cigarettes were  part of an organised supply chain supporting sales of illegal tobacco,  which costs the UK taxpayer around £2.3 billion a year.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for trading standards, said: “I would like to thank our colleagues at Gloucestershire Constabulary for alerting us to this illegal tobacco stash.

“We will continue to work closely together to ensure there is no hiding place for anyone trying to sell counterfeit products. It harms the trade of legitimate suppliers and poses a risk to public health.”