3rd July 2024

Newham TS seizes illicit tobacco

Officers discovered concealed stashes of illegal tobacco and vapes during raids last month.

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

Officers from Newham Trading Standards have seized more than £70,000 worth of illegal tobacco and vapes as part of the HMRC-funded Operation CeCe initiative.

Over the weekend of 15-16 June, Officers visited 15 businesses in the London borough and found illegal goods at nine of them, seizing 60,000 cigarettes, 100kg of shisha, 350g of hand-rolling tobacco, 5.5kg of chewing tobacco, 175 oversized vapes and various other non-compliant or illegal products.

Businesses were identified based on direct intelligence and partnership collaboration.

During the operation, Officers found five concealed storage areas filled with illegal goods. Most of the seized tobacco was non-duty paid and was likely to have been smuggled into the country, with some suspected to be counterfeit versions of popular brands. These counterfeit products pose significant risks, as they often contain harmful substances and may not self-extinguish, increasing the risk of fire.

Ongoing investigations will include a thorough review of the seized products to determine specific offences. Those prosecuted and convicted for involvement in the sale or supply of illegal tobacco face severe penalties, including up to ten years in prison and unlimited fines.

The raids were supported by Newham Public Health and specialist tobacco detection dog company Wagtail UK Ltd.

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