Lancashire Trading Standards has seized more than 20,000 counterfeit cigarettes, 32 bottles of suspected non-duty paid alcohol and 15 packs of prescription-only medicines in Preston as part of a multi-agency crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the county.
As part of Operation Centurion – a multi-agency initiative to bolster law enforcement in Lancashire, Trading Standards Officers teamed up with agencies including Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, Immigration Enforcement, Preston City Council Housing Standards, Preston City Council Licensing and Waste/Environment Officers.
During a ‘day of action’ on 19 July, the team visited premises on New Hall Lane in Preston to investigate businesses selling products that could harm the community.
Seizures of illicit tobacco were made from two businesses. More than 20,000 cigarettes and 2,850g of rolling tobacco were found in a rear store room of one shop, as well as 183 non-compliant vapes openly being sold at the counter.
Counterfeit brands seized included Richmond, Lambert and Butler, as well as less familiar brands such as Manchester & Pect. Amber Leaf and Turner hand-rolling tobacco were also discovered.
At other shops, 32 bottles of suspected non-duty paid alcohol, including Smirnoff, were found along with 15 packs of prescription-only medicines, which legally can only be dispensed by a pharmacy or other specifically licensed premises.
Lancashire County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Lancashire Council said: “Closing off avenues where illicit goods are sold is not just a matter of enforcing the law, it is a way of protecting public health and keeping the community safe.
“Our Trading Standards Team will continue to keep seizing illicit tobacco and non-compliant vapes and continue to take enforcement action against rogue traders.”