A better Medway
Published: Monday, 1st July 2019

More than 80,000 illegal cigarettes have been seized following a weekend of action by Medway Council’s Trading Standards team and Kent Police.

Illegal tobacco was seized from a retail premises in Chatham which was visited by Trading Standards officers and specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs on Friday, 28 June 2019. 

In the shop the sniffer dog found two large secret hides in the basement, concealed behind a tiled wall. The diligent dogs also found hidden panels in the shop counter.

Medway Council’s Trading Standards team seized a total of 82,000 cigarettes and 19 kilos of hand rolling tobacco. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.

'No place for organised criminality in Medway'

Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder covering Enforcement, said: “This incredible discovery of £37,000 of illegal tobacco would not have been possible without the hard work of our Trading Standards team and Kent Police. We are committed to taking action against anyone who chooses to trade in illegal tobacco. There is no place for organised criminality in Medway and this weekend of enforcement activity shows how closely we work with partner agencies to identify offenders and prevent money going into criminal hands. These cigarettes and tobaccos can be extremely dangerous I would encourage residents to continue to report shops selling counterfeit cigarettes to us.”

Highlighting the importance of working together

Sergeant Liz Jarvis from Medway Community Safety Unit said: “Operations such as this highlight importance of working closely with the council to keep the towns safe. In addition to the cigarettes seized by Medway Council’s Trading Standards, our officers were able to carry out weapon and alcohol sweeps at locations known to be affected by antisocial behaviour. As a result of this work in Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester high streets, five people had alcohol confiscated and one person was arrested for a public order offence. Our partnership work will continue throughout the year to help prevent antisocial behaviour and keep Medway safe.”

For more information, and to report the sale of illegal tobacco, visit or call 01634 334455.

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