Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police have joined forces once more to seize illegal cigarettes from properties in Grantham.
The authorities acted on intelligence yesterday, seizing 6.1kg of tobacco and 2,900 cigarettes with foreign labels. The raids were carried on properties in Dexter Avenue, Sterling Court and Colne Court.
Two suspects were arrested. Officers were accompanied by the expertly trained Charlie, a springer spaniel with a strong nose for tobacco.
Andy Wright, Principle Trading Standards Officer, said: “Foreign-labelled cigarettes or packets of tobacco are illegal because taxes haven’t been paid on them. They don’t show the health and safety warnings that they are required to here in the UK. Legitimate cigarettes are designed to self-extinguish if left unattended, this feature is absent from illegally imported products like these.
“Sellers of illicit tobacco are able to sell the products at significantly lower prices than genuine ones from legitimate businesses, thereby undermining the viability of local business. It is with the intention of protecting the interests of local businesses and residents that we have taken action today.
“As well as seizing these illicit goods, we also took mobile phones, tablets and laptops so we can further investigate the case. We also seized a substantial amount of cash, which is believed to be a proceed of crime.
“We don’t want to raid people’s homes at all, but if you are breaking the law and have something to hide, we will use all means at our disposal to find it.”
Neighbourhood Inspector Adrian Wooton added: “We hope today sends a strong message to anyone buying and / or selling on illegal cigarettes and tobacco that this will not be tolerated. There are a number of reasons why they are not lawful and the most concerning of those is the health risks posed to people who use them. I would urge anyone who is offered cigarettes for sale which they think might be illegal to report it to the authorities as soon as possible.”
If you believe illegal, fake or duty free goods such as cigarettes, are being sold from a residential property, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.