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Illicit tobacco seized in joint raid

Published: 09/07/2014

A joint operation between Flintshire Trading Standards and North Wales Police has resulted in a seizure of illicit tobacco. Approximately 63,000 cigarettes plus 3kg of hand rolling tobacco was seized from three stores in Flint. Investigations into the source of the cigarettes are ongoing. The operation was supported by specialist tobacco sniffer dogs which located tobacco that had been hidden away in a specially constructed shop counter which had a hidden compartment with an electronically controlled sliding door. Pepper had been liberally sprayed over the tobacco in a failed attempt to hide it from the sniffer dogs. Councillor Kevin Jones, Flintshire Cabinet member for Public Protection said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working between the Council’s Trading Standards Service and North Wales Police. The sale of cheap illicit tobacco makes it easier for new smokers to get addicted and makes it harder for smokers who want to give up and break the habit. Far from being a victimless crime the trade in illicit tobacco has serious consequences for crime and health in the community and causes economic detriment to legitimate local businesses.” Inspector Ceri Hawe from North Wales Police said; “We attended three premises in Flint to assist Flintshire Trading Standards in executing warrants. Significant quantities of illicit tobacco were recovered. Intelligence received from members of the public helped with this operation and I would continue to ask anyone who may be aware of any premises selling such products to contact police on 101 or Flintshire County Council Trading Standards.” Anyone wanting to report sales of illicit tobacco can do so to trading standards on 03454 040506. Illicit tobacco products are cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco that have been smuggled, bootlegged or are counterfeit and are not subject to any controls over their composition. Photo caption: The illegal tobacco hidden in a compartment in one of the stores. Notes to Editors Press enquiries can be directed to 01352 703181 and please ask for Richard Powell or Lise Mitchell