Stockport Council’s Trading Standards officers seized 3,324 sticks of cigarettes and 5,150 grams of hand rolling tobacco in raids during a large scale operation against illegal tobacco.
The crackdown is part “Operation Henry 2” which is aimed at tackling illicit tobacco supplies in nine regions of England, over six months, using specialist tobacco detection dogs from Wagtail UK.
Detection dogs discovered concealed stashes of tobacco at four premises in Stockport, with products hidden in various areas including in walls, bags and furniture and under food products.
Councillor Martin Candler, Stockport Council’s Executive Member for Supporting Places, said: “Our trading standards officers are working hard to keep these illegal products off the streets and are cracking down on the businesses and individuals that break the law.
“Detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes in the most unlikely places and in addition to having their stock confiscated offenders could face unlimited fines as well as up to ten years in prison.”
The seizure included counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco, as well as cigarettes and tobacco smuggled from abroad without domestic duty paid, which cannot be legally sold in the UK.
Anyone with information about illegal tobacco can call the Illegal Tobacco Hotline anonymously on 0300 999 0000 or the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06. Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made online at www.keep-it-out.co.uk.