Counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol seized during raids in Lincolnshire have been turned into electricity and fed into the national grid.
Operations undertaken by Lincolnshire County Council’s Trading Standards in partnership with Lincolnshire Police have led to the discovery and seizure of around 30,000 cigarettes, 400 bottles of wine and 3,000 cans of alcohol.
The goods, which were a combination of smuggled and counterfeit items, were this week taken to a special recycling centre where they weighed in at 2,440kg. The items were first broken up before being converted into electricity and fed into the national grid.
Emma Milligan, principal Trading Standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “This is really the end result of lots of operations and prosecutions that we have carried out in partnership with Lincolnshire Police.
“Tackling the sale of counterfeit and illegal cigarettes is a priority. Some cigarettes are extremely dangerous because they are not self-extinguishing.
“Many bottles of alcohol were seized for non-payment of duty, while others were seized because they were counterfeit or fake and potentially very dangerous. They can contain industrial alcohol which is unfit for human consumption.
“The cigarettes and alcohol being destroyed this week has been seized in several operations involving Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police.
“With such potential dangers to the public, it’s vital that these products are taken off the streets. I’m glad we can put the cigarettes and alcohol to use in a productive way.”
The haul of illegal goods has been gathered over a six-month period following a number of joint raids undertaken by Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police.
Sgt Kimble Enderby who is the Police Licencing Sargeant, added: “We have been quite pro-active in terms of gathering intelligence and we have been able to act on that intelligence quite quickly.
“Hopefully, this will send out a clear message to members of the public that if they suspect anyone of this kind of crime we are able to act quickly and decisively to help bring these people to justice.
“It is so rewarding for our officers because much of the wine we have seized is dangerous and not fit for human consumption. No-one can be sure what chemicals go into it so it is very satisfying to get it off the streets.
“The work we are doing here is part of a bigger picture, because we know those involved in smuggling items or manufacturing counterfeit goods are often involved in other areas of organised crime.”
If you do suspect anyone of selling cheap, illegal cigarettes or alcohol, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 to avoid tragic cases in the future.
To find out more about the work Lincolnshire Trading Standards does, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards or follow us on @lincsts on Twitter.