Biggest ever illegal tobacco seizure for Stoke-on-Trent

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A total of £80,000 worth of illegal tobacco has been seized from shops in Longton, Stoke and Tunstall in a joint operation.

The operation was conducted by Staffordshire Police, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s trading standards team and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Immigration.

Five premises were visited during the intelligence-led crackdown, with illegal tobacco found at three of them.

In total, 150,000 cigarettes and 50kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized, with £71,000 worth found in one of the shops.

Councillor Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, and chair of Smoke Free Stoke-on-Trent, said: “This is the largest single seizure of illegal tobacco from a shop in the city, and we think it’s also the biggest overall tobacco seizure from a day of action.

“It’s a very satisfying result and a lot of credit must go to our trading standards officers and the partners involved for their great work.

“Most of the goods seized had foreign packaging with no health warnings in English and could have caused significant damage to public health if they had made it onto our streets.

“We will always take action against anyone found to be involved in the storage, distribution or supply of illegal tobacco and full investigations have now been launched into these seizures.

“People may think it’s a victimless crime, but it’s far from it and the consequences can be far-reaching.”

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