by Steve Beasant on 2 March, 2015
Sniffer dogs helped North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team uncover more than £3,000 worth of illicit tobacco during an operation in Grimsby this week.
The illicit products have a street value of about £1,500 and were seized during inspection visits in the borough, conducted by Trading Standards officers with support from Humberside Police, during Operation Nightshade III.
A total of 4,320 of illicit cigarettes with a street value of £836 (to buy them legitimately would cost £1,776) and 4.45kg of rolling tobacco with a street value of £668 (to buy them legitimately would cost £1,775) were seized.
Tobacco detection dogs Phoebe and Scamp, two enthusiastic Springer Spaniels, provided by BWY Canine, helped detect the contraband during visits to four shops in the Freeman Street area.
These raids are the latest in a number of high profile seizures of illicit tobacco products in the borough.
The seizure included some products which are suspected of being counterfeit, and other non-duty paid products which cannot be legally sold in the UK.
It brings the total amount seized since September to 81,731 cigarettes and 69.45kg of tobacco – with a total street value of £26,835 and genuine value of £62,540.
Operation Nightshade is an on-going initiative in North East Lincolnshire that aims to crack down on the supply of illicit tobacco and is the result of a partnership between North East Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Health and Well Being Board and the North East Lincolnshire Tobacco Alliance.
Chief Inspector Mark Bishop, operational policing lead for North East Lincolnshire said that Humberside Police were very pleased to work in partnership with Trading Standards on this operation, adding: “The illegal trade in counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco is not only a major source of funding for organised crime groups but the products also represent significant health risks for local communities due to their manufacture being completely unregulated. We have a responsibility to tackle these issues with partner agencies and we will continue to do so.”
Neil Clark, community protection manager responsible for Trading Standards at NELC, said: “We appeal to anyone to get in touch if you have information about any people or businesses selling counterfeit or illicit tobacco products in your community.
“Honest retailers should not be in a position where they’re competing with those selling cheap, untaxed and smuggled tobacco products.”
Report it to North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards on 01472 326299 (option 3). Alternatively, ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.Leave a comment