Thousands Of Pounds Of Tobacco Siezed

More than £30,000 worth of illegal tobacco has been taken off the streets thanks to work by Dudley Council over the past two years, figures reveal.

Trading standards officers carried out searches at 22 premises over the past two years in a bid to crack down on tobacco crime. 

Cases involved illegal cigarettes and tobacco on which duty had not been paid or were missing the UK health warnings as a result of being illegally imported, or were counterfeit copies of genuine brands.

In 2014, trading standards officers visited 10 premises and discovered 23,800 illegal cigarettes and 274 packs of tobacco, with a street value of £10,976.

Last year, officers visited 12 premises and found 39,600 cigarettes and 582 packs of tobacco valued at £20,610. All the tobacco and cigarettes were confiscated and destroyed. 

Officers make spot checks as well as reacting to tip offs from members of the public.

Shop owners caught selling the counterfeit products face prosecution, fines and prison sentences through the courts. Tony Oakman, strategic director for people directorate at Dudley Council, said:

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

“We know the public are less tolerant of these crimes as they impact negatively on health and our community and we would urge the public to report it if you know it is going on in your neighbourhood.

“While all smoking is harmful, illegal tobacco is sold at low prices and without the necessary health warnings which makes it easier for children and young smokers to get hooked on smoking.

“Cheap cigarettes also make it harder for people to quit and remain smoke free. It also deprives legitimate businesses of revenue and robs the tax payer of money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.”

The visits took place at premises in Brierley Hill, Lye and Dudley. So far nine cases have resulted in prosecution with fines and costs for the people caught with the illegal products. Several more cases are in the process of being prosecuted.

People can keep illegal tobacco out of their area by informing trading standards on 01384 818871 or by telephoning Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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