80kg of illegal tobacco seized in Exeter by trading standards and customs officers
Posted on: 16 February 2016
Illegal tobacco with an on-the-street value of more than £63,000 has been seized in a day of raids across Exeter.
In a joint operation on Friday February 5 carried out by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service and HRMC, six businesses in St Thomas, the city centre and in Pinhoe were investigated by officers, sniffer dogs and their handlers.
A mixture of retail and licensed premises and a self storage business were raided. Further investigations are being conducted by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service for trademark breaches.
In total 80kgs of rolling tobacco, 81,200 cigarettes and 50 litres of alcohol were confiscated.
The duty avoided on the illegal alcohol and tobacco is estimated at £35,000. The operation follows intelligence received concerning the sale of illegal tobacco in the Exeter area late last year.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Devon and Somerset Trading Standards said: “Trading Standards are determined to crack down on the sale and supply of illegal tobacco.
“It is one of our top priorities for action, not only because smoking remains one of the UK’s biggest causes of premature death but we also know that the availability of cheap, illegal tobacco makes it harder for people to give up smoking.”
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “All tobacco is harmful but illegal tobacco poses an additional threat to our children and communities because it is sold at pocket money prices by criminals who are not interested in asking for proof of age. This isn’t just about shops and retail premises. Younger people are more likely to visit ‘fag houses’ to buy cigarettes. This puts them into risky situations with adults who might also be selling alcohol or drugs.”
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