Published: Friday, 25th January 2019
More than 30,000 illegal cigarettes and 74kg of hand rolling tobacco have been seized following a weekend of action by Medway Council’s Trading Standards team and Kent Police.
Illegal tobacco was seized from four retail premises across Medway which were visited by Trading Standards officers and specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs on Saturday, 19 and Sunday, 20 January.
In one shop the sniffer dogs found a large secret hide, concealed behind a light fitting, containing nearly 5,000 cigarettes.
In another premises the diligent dogs found a hidden panel in the toilet area which contained around 7,000 cigarettes.
Medway Council’s Trading Standards team seized a total of 32,000 cigarettes and 74.7kg of rolling tobacco. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Some of these products can be highly dangerous
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder covering Enforcement, said: “This incredible discovery of £10,000 of illegal tobacco would not have been possible without the hard work of our Trading Standards team and Kent Police.
“Selling illegal tobacco is a criminal offence and anyone found doing so faces prosecution. Some of these products can be counterfeit and highly dangerous and toxic. We hope this serves as a warning that we are committed to taking action against anyone who chooses to trade in illegal tobacco.
“I would also like to encourage residents to continue to report shops selling counterfeit cigarettes to us.”
No place for this in Medway
Sergeant Jon Fouracre, from Kent Police’s Medway Community Safety Unit, said: “Many of the tobacco products seized are believed to have been brought into the country by organised crime groups, seeking to make a quick profit at the expense of the UK taxpayer.
“There is no place for organised criminality in Medway and this weekend of enforcement activity shows we work closely with our partners to identify offenders and prevent money going into criminal hands.”