Almost 2,500 packets of illegal cigarettes and 134 pouches of illegal hand rolling tobacco have been discovered in a series of raids in Northamptonshire.
With the help of trained sniffer dogs, the Operation led by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards and supported by Northamptonshire Police uncovered the illicit tobacco concealed in premises in Northampton, Kettering and Corby.
The raids took place on Tuesday, February 22 with the help of sniffer dogs Yo-Yo, Phoebe, Scamp and Harry from BWY Canine, the specialist agency that provides detection dogs. The information has been released today by the county council.
All tobacco sold in the UK must have certain warnings in English and also a picture warning, so anyone buying illegal tobacco will know straight away that it is not legal.
Investigations are now ongoing as a result of the raids, a spokesman for the council said.
Cllr André González de Savage, county council deputy leader and cabinet member for public protection, added: “Illegal cigarettes not only pose a risk to people’s health but those involved in their sale are often linked to other forms of criminal activity, including drug dealing, money laundering, people trafficking and even terrorism.
“These raids demonstrate how we work closely with the police to take action against anyone suspected of supplying or selling illegal tobacco products. I have seen first hand how effective the searches are. If convicted, those responsible face a costly fine or even imprisonment.
“Anyone being offered cheap tobacco or any other types of illicit goods should report it to Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”