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Tip-offs helped get more than 180,000 illegal cigarettes in Norfolk confiscated

Stephen Maunder, community protection officer with trading standards, with some of the seized products. Picture: Luke Powell.

Stephen Maunder, community protection officer with trading standards, with some of the seized products. Picture: Luke Powell.

Archant

Watchdogs confiscated more than 180,000 illegal cigarettes and some 110lbs of illicit rolling tobacco in Norfolk over the past 12 months, new figures have revealed.

Illegal tobacco seized from a property in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtIllegal tobacco seized from a property in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk Trading Standards officers seized the illegal products in almost a dozen raids during 2016/17 - and thanked the public for their tip-offs.

Off the back of those seizures, Trading Standards has successfully applied to revoke alcohol licences from two traders who habitually sold illegal tobacco, while a third trader’s licence has been suspended.

Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford were among the towns where raids were carried out during the year.

Officers at Norfolk Trading Standards, which is based at Norfolk County Council, said the effectiveness of the illegal tobacco campaign was in part due to the success of the service’s Illicit Tobacco Roadshow in September, which raised public awareness of the issues with its sale.

Officers said that roadshow led to a sharp increase in tip-offs received about the supply of illicit tobacco – allowing further raids to be carried out throughout the year.

Other successes the service revealed during 2016/17 include:
• Helping 185 victims of mass-mailing scams.

• Creating the 160th No Cold Calling Zones in the county, which means there are now 7,530 homes covered by the such zones, which look to deter doorstep sellers and bogus callers.

• Expansion of the Norfolk Trusted Traders scheme - an online directory of recommended traders

• Taking various food samples throughout the year, identifying issues such as meat products with meat content lower than that declared, imported drinks with non-permitted additives, products with non-permitted food colours and products with higher than allowed levels of permitted food colours.

• Through the test purchasing of cheap electrical goods, unsafe products have been detected and removed from the marketplace.

Sophie Leney, head of Trading Standards, said: “Our team always works extremely hard across the full breadth of our remit to ensure that businesses receive the support they need to prosper, and citizens are protected from unsafe goods and unfair trading – and this can be seen by these fantastic results.”

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