15th June 2023

Bumper illegal tobacco haul

Officers from Bolton Trading Standards and Greater Manchester Police have seized one of the largest amounts of illegal tobacco ever in the UK.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

Officers from Bolton Council Trading Standards and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have seized approximately £4.1m worth of raw tobacco from shipping containers at a premises on Manchester Road in Bolton, in one of the largest tobacco seizures ever made in the UK.

Acting on intelligence provided to police and local authorities, on 7 June Officers executed a warrant and discovered the raw tobacco, which was at the initial stage in an illegal manufacturing process. During the process, raw tobacco is diluted with other substances to increase its volume, resulting in a product that has previously been found to include tree leaves, dead insects, rat faeces and other dangerous toxins.

The tobacco was removed and secured while Officers conduct further investigations.

Chief Superintendent Steph Parker, GMP’s Bolton’s District Commander said: “Greater Manchester Police take the production and distribution of illegal substances and counterfeit goods extremely seriously and we are continuing our commitment to remove these goods from our streets.

“Ultimately this raid resulted in a positive seizure of a large amount of illegal tobacco, which has thankfully been removed from circulation and our community, further protecting the public from these extremely dangerous and harmful products.

“This raid was a great success thanks to the intelligence that was shared with us and by working closely with local authorities and Bolton Council to make this possible. This is an excellent example of fantastic multi-agency working removing illicit goods from off our streets away from the hands of criminal networks.

“We’re continuing to be relentless in our pursuit of serious and organised crime and I want to take this opportunity to encourage the public to continue reporting any illegal activity so we can act and make Bolton an even safer place to live and work.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Councillor Sue Haworth, said: “This council has a zero-tolerance policy on the sale of illicit tobacco which damages our communities and deprives our NHS of vital tax income.

“The raid was an excellent example of partnership working, with both council officers and GMP joining forces to take these harmful goods off our streets. This is the biggest Trading Standards seizure in Bolton’s history, and one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the UK.”

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