Heart of the South West (HotSW) Trading Standards and Avon and Somerset Police have seized more than £25,000 worth of illicit tobacco and illegal vapes from a shop in Taunton.
The raid, which took place on 21 February, came about after intelligence was received that cheap tobacco and vapes were being sold to local children.
Alex Fry, Operations Manager from HotSW Trading Standards, said: “Combatting the supply of illegal tobacco and vapes is a high priority for us. This was a significant seizure for Trading Standards with the intention to disrupt criminals selling illicit tobacco and vapes which are potentially dangerous.”
An estimated £20,000 worth of illicit tobacco and 500 illegal disposable vapes with a value of £5,000 were seized and the matter is now under investigation.
The raid was the latest in a series of anti-illicit tobacco operations by HotSW Trading Standards, which is commissioned by Devon and Somerset County Councils, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council. The service has seized illegal tobacco and vapes worth around £350,000 since 2021.
“This service is keen to respond to information received from our partners and the public, and to visit those businesses believed to be engaging in illegal activities,” said Fry.
Avon and Somerset Police Neighbourhood policing Sergeant Andrew Gloyn said: “We would like to thank the public for reporting their suspicions and concerns to us; this information is a key part of our investigation into reducing the availability of illegal tobacco and vaping products. We are committed to removing these products from the streets and safeguarding our young people.”