Thousands of suspected illegal cigarettes were seized from a shop in Leamington as part of county-wide raids by Warwickshire Trading Standards.
Acting on local intelligence, Trading Standards Officers visited several corner shops in Leamington with a sniffer dog team and Warwickshire Police on Thursday December 8.
A search of one store revealed a huge number of suspected illicit cigarettes hidden in two vehicles parked at the rear of the shop. 23,420 cigarettes and 4.5kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized.
In all, Trading Standards Officers seized over 44,000 cigarettes and over 4.5kg of tobacco from three shops in Leamington, Rugby and Nuneaton.
Cllr John Horner, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: “The sellers of illegal cigarettes don’t care who they sell to, making it easier for children and young people to obtain cigarettes and get hooked on smoking.”
“Cheap illegal cigarettes also threaten the livelihoods of honest and genuine businesses and rob the taxpayer of money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.”
“I am delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards is taking this action to both protect the health of Warwickshire’s young people and support legitimate business.”
Cllr Philip Johnson, chair of the council’s communities overview and scrutiny committee, added: “Trading Standards Officers will continue to employ specialist sniffer dogs from whom traders will struggle to conceal their illegal tobacco, however clever they believe their tobacco hides to be.”
Illegal cigarettes and tobacco have no duty paid on them.