Police seize thousands of pounds worth of illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco in Wisbech and March
- Credit: Archant
Thousands of illegal cigarettes and large quantities of rolling tobacco were seized by police and customs officers in raids in March and Wisbech.
Trading Standards co-ordinated the raids yesterday and seized over 25,000 cigarettes and 7.5kg of rolling tobacco as part of a joint operation to tackle the sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
Also involved in the raids were police, HM Revenue and Customs and Wagtail International – the company that provides sniffer dogs.
The operation used three specially trained tobacco detection dogs from Wagtail to uncover concealed tobacco at shops in Godmanchester, March and Wisbech.
Illegal cigarettes and tobacco cost the government between £2 - 3 billion a year in lost revenue, money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.
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Val Thomas, consultant in public health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Illicit tobacco is often sold to children and young people putting their long term health at serious risk.
“This is not a victimless crime and anyone who suspects the sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco should report it to Cambridgeshire Trading Standards (0345 4040 506) or anonymously to Crimestoppers (0800 555 111).”
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Frank Pasfield, trading standards Officer for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “These raids show our commitment to protecting local people and legitimate businesses who suffer as a result of this illegal trade. We will continue to fight this illegal activity.
“Anyone selling illicit cigarettes and tobacco should expect a visit from our officers and the resulting prosecution.”
No details have been released about the premises raids and if anyone has been charged.