North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards Officers have seized a haul of illicit cigarettes and tobacco with a street value of almost £100,000 from a residential property in the village of Healing.
The Officers, supported by Humberside Police’s Community Team, executed a search warrant on the morning of Sunday 21 November in response to information received from the public.
They discovered approximately 375,000 illicit cigarettes (more than 18,500 packets) and 14.5kg of illicit tobacco (290 pouches). The vast majority of the products were concealed in the loft.
All of the cigarettes seized fail to conform to the Reduced Ignition Propensity regulations, meaning they do not self-extinguish if left unattended, therefore increasing the risk of house fires.
These products have an approximate legitimate value of more than £210,000 and a street value of approximately £97,000.
Councillor Ron Shepherd, North East Lincolnshire Council portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “This is the largest illicit cigarette haul our Trading Standards Officers have seized and I’d like to thank them for continuing to crackdown on the issue of illicit cigarettes and tobacco.
“These products do not meet safety standards and are putting lives at risk. We know illicit and fake cigarettes do not comply with the Reduced Ignition Propensity requirements and won’t self-extinguish, so are likely to start a fire.
“Not only has no duty been paid on them but they’ve not been tested to ensure they’re safe.”
The occupants of the property will be interviewed at a later date.
This latest operation brings the total number of illicit cigarettes and tobacco seized by North East Lincolnshire Council – since the commencement of Operation Nightshade, and latterly Operation CeCe – to 1,261,048 cigarettes and 735kg of hand rolling tobacco. This would have an approximate legitimate value of £1,098,300 and a street value of approximately £477,072.