Council Cracks Down On Illegal Tobacco

A sniffer dog crackdown across the West Midlands has yielded more than £30,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco in Dudley.

More than 39,600 cigarettes and 582 packs of tobacco were seized by Dudley Council trading standards officers last year as part of a region-wide crackdown in 2015/16. The illegal goods were seized after spot checks of 16premises and trading standards were able to secure six prosecutions following the finds.

Regionally, more than 1.4 million counterfeit and illicit cigarettes have been seized by specialist tobacco sniffer dogs in a campaign with 14 local trading standard areas across Central England, with a street value of over £1million.

The campaign, which also resulted in 515 kg of hand rolling tobacco and 1.7 tons of niche tobacco being seized, was run by trading standards services across the West Midlands.

Trading standards bosses in Dudley have hailed the borough’s contribution as a huge boost to protecting the public. ​Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:

“We have a duty to protect the public and work hard to make sure that the goods they buy are genuine products which have had the tax paid on them.

“Selling illegal tobacco is a crime and offenders need to know they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these products.”

Over £1million worth of goods were seized across the region last year with a loss of duty to the government of around £660,000.

All offending businesses are subjected to a criminal investigation, with some traders already successfully prosecuted.  In addition, some shops had their alcohol licences suspended or revoked for dealing with counterfeit and illicit tobacco products. 

Anyone being offered cheap tobacco or any other types of illicit goods should report it to Trading standards by calling the CEnTSA’s confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111


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