Record figure of 7m illegal cigs seized - The Evesham Observer

Record figure of 7m illegal cigs seized

Evesham Editorial 21st Jul, 2018   0

MORE than seven million illegal cigarettes and 478kg of hand rolling tobacco have been seized across the region by Trading Standards teams from the Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CEnTSA).

The cigarettes and tobacco were seized in the last financial year with a loss to the taxpayer of nearly £2million.

The total retail value of the illegal goods is estimated to be worth in excess of £3million.

The amount of illegal product seized has increased year on year in recent years, with the amount of illegal cigarettes seized last year being almost 30 per cent higher than a record seizure figure the previous year.

In March this year more than 50,000 illegal cigarettes and almost 300 packets of hand-rolling tobacco were seized by Worcestershire County Council’s Trading Standards officers, accompanied by specialist detection dogs from Wagtail UK, from two retail premises in Evesham and Redditch.

They had a street value of more than £20,000.

The council’s cabinet member for communities, Coun Lucy Hodgson, said: “Far from being a victimless crime, illegal tobacco trade creates a cheap source for children and young people.

“Whilst all tobacco is harmful, the illegal tobacco market, and in particular the availability of cheap cigarettes, undermines government health policies aimed at reducing the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking. The loss to the taxpayer means less money being spent on local communities, schools and the NHS.”

All offending businesses are subject to criminal investigation. Previous detections have led to traders being successfully prosecuted. Some have received financial penalties, others in the region have been given suspended prison sentences and community orders.

Shops involved in these activities risk having their alcohol licences suspended or revoked for dealing with illegal tobacco products.

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