Secret cupboard stuffed with knock-off cigarettes discovered in Kettering shop following local tip-off
Police and trading standards found illegal tobacco and vapes worth more than £80,000 in three Kettering shops.
One shop was hiding its contraband in a secret cupboard in a back room.
Kettering’s neighbourhood policing team joined forces with trading standards to carry out simultaneous spot-checks on the shops last Wednesday (November 8).
They found illicit products worth £81,672 including 418 illicit vapes worth £4,180, 82 packets of hand rolling tobacco worth £2,755, and 5,119 packets of cigarettes worth £74,737.
During one inspection, a hidden cavity behind a back-room cupboard was found by eagle-eyed cops containing a huge stash of illicit tobacco and cigarettes.
PC James Batten from Kettering’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “I am really pleased with the results of this operation because it means that a large quantity of harmful goods are now off the streets of Northamptonshire and away from members of the public.
“Illicit tobacco is not only bad for your health, but it can also be a sign of something more sinister such as serious and organised crime.
“We will continue working alongside our partners at trading standards to conduct these inspections and I hope this case is a warning to other stores selling similar items.
“Finally, I would like to thank the anonymous member of the public who passed on their concerns regarding these stores. Community intelligence is vital to a neighbourhood policing team and I hope this result shows how keen we are to listen to our residents and act on their information.”
Police said they would not name the shops involved so as to not compromise potential legal proceedings.