News item

Illegal tobacco haul seized

Illicit cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco have been seized in a county-wide sting.

The multi-agency operation on the supply of Illegal tobacco took place this week, with officers conducting a number of house visits in Workington, Carlisle and Dalton in Furness. 

Trading standards officers supported by the North West Illicit Tobacco Team and Cumbria Police visited eight residential addresses to search for tobacco products not intended for UK distribution. 

Officers recovered 3,360 illicit cigarettes which were incorrectly labelled and not intended for sale in the UK and 1.9 kg of counterfeit Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco. The street value of this haul it estimated to be in excess of £700.  

The visits were intelligence led following the service receiving information via Crimestoppers and Cumbria Police. 

Mike Smyth, Cumbria County Council's public protection manager, said: “This a fantastic result and demonstrates how committed agencies are in tackling the supply of illegal tobacco. I would urge anyone engaging in this type of illegal activity in Cumbria to take note and understand that enforcement action will be taken against anyone involved in such trade. Those involved in dealing in illegal tobacco may be encouraging people, including children, to smoke by providing a cheaper source.”

Andrea Crossfield, director of Tobacco Free Futures, said “We, along with partners such as HM Revenue and Customs and local authorities including Cumbria County Council, have been working successfully to cut the supply of and demand for cheap illegal tobacco. 

"Its low price and easy availability encourages people to keep smoking, and children and young people are often targeted by unscrupulous traders. This enforcement action is therefore welcomed.“ 

If you suspect anyone selling illicit tobacco in your community, you can report them in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.

ENDS 

Media enquiries to communications adviser John Ballard on 01228 221752  

DATE: 2 May 2014