More Than One Million Illicit Cigarettes Seized In County
Over 1.26 million counterfeit and untaxed cigarettes have been seized from Nottinghamshire traders since the County Council set up a Trading Standards task force to combat the problem three years ago.
The illicit products seized also includes 7,736 tobacco pouches and amounts to an estimated retail value of £714,208.
The seizures have helped to bring about 79 prosecutions which have amounted to jail sentences totalling over 14 years, 2,615 hours in community service orders and £7,990 in fines.
The team is made up of trading standards officers, financial investigators and a Nottinghamshire police officer and has carried out raids of shops, homes, vehicles and storage facilities belonging to traders and individuals selling illicit tobacco across the county.
The team responds to public complaints and on-the-ground intelligence during its investigations and areas where the problem is more prevalent include Mansfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Worksop.
Illicit tobacco products have been found in hoovers, under floors, within the workings of electrical products such as fridges and even hidden in shoes and underwear.
Cheap illegal tobacco products conflict with the Government’s national strategy to limit demand by keeping the price of tobacco high, so making it harder for people to quit and remain smoke free.
Genuine cigarettes are designed to extinguish if left unattended – counterfeit cigarettes tend to keep alight when not smoked. It is estimated that smoking related fires in the county cost £2.86m each year.
Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Chair of the Council’s Communities and Place Committee, said: “The team has had great success in tackling the sale of illicit tobacco products in the county and the seizures are increasing year-on-year due to improving intelligence and widening our search to suppliers and online sellers as well as shops.
“Above all, the large number of prosecutions send a clear message to illicit tobacco traders and suppliers that they will be hunted out and brought to justice for their reckless actions.”
To report any concerns regarding the sale or distribution of illicit tobacco contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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