More than 12,600 illegal cigarettes and 5KG tobacco seized in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant
More than 12,600 illegal cigarettes and 5kg of tobacco, some of which was hidden in fruit juice boxes, has been seized from three different shops in a Norfolk town.
The counterfeit goods were discovered in Great Yarmouth in a joint operation by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary.
Using intelligence received from members of the public, businesses and Norfolk Constabulary, officers with the help of tobacco detection dogs found approximately 12,640 illegal cigarettes and 5kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco hidden in various locations around the three stores including under counters, concealed within walls and even hidden in fruit juice boxes.
Following the seizure, on Wednesday, May 22, Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: "We're really grateful to the members of the public who reported their concerns which led to the action taken today."
Adding that illegal tobacco and cigarettes were more dangerous than people realised, Ms Dewsbury said: "Fake cigarettes do not self-extinguish and so there is an increased risk of a fire.
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"Legislation around cigarettes ensures that safety standards are maintained but people buying cheap cigarettes from illegal sellers cannot be sure of what they are buying.
"We want everybody to help us crack down on these criminals who sell illegal tobacco indiscriminately and prey on children as well as the adults in our communities."
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The term used to describe number of different products, illegal tobacco includes counterfeit versions of popular brands, products legitimately available in other countries but smuggled into the UK or products made exclusively for the illicit market.
Over the past year, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards officers have been involved in the seizure of more than 881kg of illegal tobacco and more than 1.2m illegal cigarettes.
Anyone who believes illegal tobacco is being sold in their community can report it to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizen's Advice Consumer helpline anonymously on 03454 04 05 06 or via an online form at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer
Alternatively, police can be contacted on 101 or 999 in an emergency.