14,000 illegal cigs seized in trading standards crackdown in Northamptonshire

Thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized during a crackdown in Northamptonshire (file picture)
Thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized during a crackdown in Northamptonshire (file picture)
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Illegal tobacco was found concealed in walls, under floorboards and inside furniture during a trading standards crackdown in Northamptonshire.

Dubbed Operation Henry, the initiative saw teams from specialist dog detection firm Wagtail UK working alongside trading standards officers to carry out searches at premises across the county.

More than 14,000 cigarettes and 1.4kg of tobacco was seized in Northamptonshire.

The majority of seizures were made at small independent shops and tobacco products were found concealed in walls, under floorboards and inside furniture.

Across the East Midlands, 132,000 illegal cigarettes and 750 kilos of hand rolling tobacco have been seized.

Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “Those involved in dealing illegal tobacco products may be encouraging people, including children, to smoke by selling them cheaply.

“This operation provided a fantastic opportunity for trading standards officers to work with the specialist detection dogs to find tobacco and cigarettes even if they’re hidden in the most unlikely places.

“I hope this targeted crackdown sends the message to offenders that they will face action if they deal in these illegal products.”

Nine per cent of all cigarettes and 36 per cent of all rolling tobacco smoked in this country is believed to be illegal.

Members of the public can report anyone they suspect is selling illicit cigarettes or tobacco by phoning Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.