Pledge to keep tackling illegal tobacco, after 1.2 million cigarettes seized

Illegal cigarettes seized in Kings Lynn Photo: Norfolk County Council

Illegal cigarettes seized in Kings Lynn Photo: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Disrupting the supply of illegal tobacco in Norfolk and protecting vulnerable people from scams are among two of the priorities for the county’s watchdogs in the months ahead.

Sophie Leney, from Norfolk County Council Trading Standards. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sophie Leney, from Norfolk County Council Trading Standards. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The annual service plan of Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards department has just been agreed - outlining how they aim to protect people.

Last year, more than 1.2 million illegal cigarettes were seized in Norfolk.

Trading standards officers say supply is now spreading to smaller market towns, as well as places like Norwich, King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth.

And they say criminal organisations are thought to control the illicit tobacco supply in parts of the county, including Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

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Trading Standards officers say illicit tobacco fails to carry health warnings and the unknown composition of the cigarettes presents an additional health hazard to smoking - already the major cause of death in the UK.

Sophie Leney, head of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, said: “We will continue to work collaboratively with other agencies, to reduce the demand for illegal tobacco products, raise awareness of their dangers and increase intelligence reporting.

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“We will work with our enforcement partners including Her Majesty Revenue and Customs, UK Border Agency, Norfolk police and district councils to identify and effectively tackle the wider, larger scale supply of illegal tobacco products.”

People can report illegal tobacco sales in Norfolk, via the freephone Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 (freephone).

The department will also continue to tackle underage sales of alcohol and knives, while also focusing on dealing with scammers and rogue traders.

Ms Leney said: “As we have seen in the current COVID-19 environment, fraudsters will exploit any circumstances they can to steal money from both consumers and businesses. We will continue to work with partners to take a united stand against scams and scammers.

“We will support victims of scams; working with the Scams Prevention Service and we will continue to be a proactive member of the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership (NASP).

“The NASP is a partnership of organisations committed to taking a stand against scams and aiming to make Norfolk a scam-free county.

“We are working together to protect and support residents and businesses in Norfolk from scams, doorstep crime and fraud. We will continue to help grow the partnership.”

And she added: “It is really important that people report scams so we can share information about them and stop other consumers or businesses being caught out by them.”

· If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.

Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.

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