Tobacco seizures up 24-fold in Notts
Trading Standards officers have seized more than £1.24m worth of illicit tobacco products so far this year, which is a 24-fold increase on the same period last year.
A total of 81 inspections of shops, homes, vehicles and storage facilities have taken place in Nottinghamshire, which had resulted in the seizure of around 75,000 counterfeit cigarettes and more than 60,000 illicit tobacco pouches.
An illegal manufacturing plant was also targeted where large amounts of tobacco leaf for production was discovered.
The latest raid in Newark saw 27,240 illicit cigarettes and 200g of tobacco seized with a retail value of £14,420.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s illicit tobacco team is made up of Trading Standards officers, financial investigators, a Nottinghamshire police officer and public health specialists.
The council has brought ten successful prosecutions since January that have resulted in a 12-week suspended sentence, 610 hours of unpaid community work, one rehabilitation order and £520 in fines.
The vice-chairman of the council’s communities and place committee, John Handley, said: “Tackling the storage and sale of counterfeit tobacco products continues to be a big priority for the county council and we are making great strides in seizing large numbers of illicit products and prosecuting perpetrators.
“This is vital as illicit tobacco products don’t encourage smokers to give up the habit due to their low cost, which goes against the Government’s pricing policy aimed at reducing smoking levels.”
Genuine cigarettes are designed to extinguish if left unattended — counterfeit cigarettes do not have the safety feature which allows them to continue to burn causing a fire risk. It is estimated that smoking related fires in the county cost £2.86m each year.
For free support to quit smoking contact a stop smoking adviser on 0800 2465343 or text QUIT to 66777. For the locations of clinics visit www.smokefreelifenottinghamshire.co.uk
To anonymously report concerns about the sale of illicit tobacco products contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.