Officers from Salford City Council Trading Standards have seized more than £18,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco in raids on six local shops.
Using sniffer dogs they found dozens of fake brand-name cigarettes, many of which had been illegally imported from abroad.
In total, they seized 26,870 cigarettes and 247 pouches of hand rolling tobacco during the raids, with a street value of £18,133. Trading standards’ financial investigator also seized £1,605 cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). POCA money is ploughed back into positive community projects, such as steering young people away from crime and into more enforcement activity.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “People who smuggle illicit cigarettes and tobacco, which do not carry the correct health markings as required by UK law, do not pay duty on them. They are stealing from the taxpayer as duty paid goes into supporting public services.
“We will now consider further enforcement action against the shopkeepers who have been selling these items.”
The raids were carried out across the city in Broughton, Swinton, Irlam and Little Hulton and followed tip-offs from members of the public.