Seizure of illegal tobacco passed from flat to shop below
More than 7,000 cigarettes and 0.9kg (18 packs) of hand rolling tobacco have been seized following a large scale joint operation against illegal tobacco.
Darlington Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers worked in partnership with Police and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on the operation, which included visits to two stores in Darlington.
An entry warrant into a flat above one of the stores was also carried out at the end of January, and a large quantity of mostly cigarettes was found along with a makeshift delivery system from the flat to the store below. A hole in the wall of the flat had been created and Illegal tobacco was passed down to the shop.
The businesses and individuals involved are now subject to an on-going criminal investigation.
Trading Standards officers have noticed an increase in the trade in illegal cigarettes in Darlington and are actively working with partners to stamp this out.
Shaun Trevor of Darlington Trading Standards explained:
“People who deal in illegal tobacco are more likely to encourage children and young adults to smoke. All tobacco is harmful but the illegal tobacco market and in particular the availability of cheap cigarettes makes it harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free.
“This was another example of a really successful piece of partnership working between Trading Standards, Durham Police and H M Revenue & Customs. We will continue to work together to keep these illegal products off our streets and will continue to crack down on those businesses and individuals that deal in them.
“Offenders can have their stock seized and face unlimited fines and up to 10 years in prison.”
If you have any information which can assist Trading Standards then please email [email protected] or report it using the online reporting form (you can remain anonymous) at www.darlington.gov.uk/tradingstandards