16th January 2024

West Yorks TS find hidden stash

Illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes were found concealed in a shop in Huddersfield.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
It is well proven that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime

Officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards have found illegal tobacco worth thousands of pounds concealed behind an electronically controlled hatch in a store in Huddersfield.

Investigations are ongoing after a total of 144 packets of cigarettes were found as well as 231 illegal vapes and a number of large packets of rolling tobacco. Officers from West Yorkshire Police insisted in the operation.

An officer from West Yorkshire Police opens the concealed stash (image credit: West Yorkshire Police)

The seizure follows the discovery of more than £100,000 of concealed illegal tobacco in Dewsbury last October. Contraband from those raids was found hidden behind a bathroom mirror and in a cupboard concealed behind a false fuse board.

Inspector Mark Pattinson of Kirklees Police said: “People may see the sale of illegal cigarettes as not as harmful as other types of criminality, but it is well proven that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime.

“These illegal products can also be more harmful to public health due to lack of regulation and testing and it is important we act to restrict their sales.

“In this latest operation officers discovered a significant quantity of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes inside the premises which the owners had attempted to conceal within a false wall, with access gained via a disguised electrically controlled hatch. 
He added: “All of the illegal items were seized by Trading Standards and will be destroyed.  None of us want to see organised crime in our neighbourhoods and I encourage residents to keep contacting us with any information which can help us  disrupt criminal activity and the sale of illegal goods.”

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