Cash and illegal tobacco seized in raids on shop and house

Police and Trading Standards conducted the raids
Police and Trading Standards conducted the raids

Around £100,000 of unaccounted-for cash plus a stash of illegal tobacco has been seized in joint Trading Standards and police raids.

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Police seized the tobacco from a shop in Nelson town centre area of Nelson, and the £100,000 cash in bags from a house in the town.

Officers served three warrants, all in the Nelson area, after tracking a supply ring operating in the town. More than 680 packs, with a retail value of around almost £4,000, were seized from a locked hiding place.

The haul included counterfeit copies of famous brands such as Mayfair, Amber Leaf and Richmond, brands bearing foreign health warnings such as Pect and Minsk, and multi-coloured patterned packs that are classed as child-appealing and cannot be sold under the UK's plain packaging requirements.

Three men and a woman are currently under investigation, and checks into the supply chain are continuing. The traders involved face possible prosecution by Trading Standards in relation to offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "This seizure is our sixth from Pendle shops since the start of 2018. The availability of cheap illegal tobacco and lack of picture warnings on these products contribute to keeping smoking rates high in East Lancashire, while surveys show a higher percentage of child smokers buy illicit tobacco than adult smokers.

"This seizure sends out a message to those operating illegally that such activity will not be tolerated."

Anyone who suspects they have seen counterfeit or otherwise illegal goods on sale can report them to Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.