Illegal tobacco worth Â£10k seized from shop
Police and trading standards officers have seized illegal tobacco from a shop valued at more than Â£10,000.
A total of 2,231 packs were found at the shop in central Nelson, including counterfeits copies of 19 brands such as Richmond, Marlboro and Golden Virginia, as well as packs containing foreign health warnings which can't be sold in the UK, and on which no import duty has been paid.
The tobacco was found by Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards team behind the shop counter and on a staircase. No arrests were made but investigations into two men are ongoing.
The operation was the twelfth involving the seizure of illegal tobacco in the Pendle area within the last year. Five prosecutions have followed resulting in one offender receiving an 18 month jail sentence, and £1000's in fines and costs, and community penalties, for others.
County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Illicit tobacco helps to support serious organised crime and we will continue to work closely with the police to tackle this problem.
"Surveys show a higher percentage of child smokers buy illicit tobacco than adult smokers. The availability of cheap illegal tobacco and colourful child-appealing packaging on these products both contribute to keeping smoking rates high in East Lancashire.
"I hope this operation sends out a message to those dealing in illegal tobacco that our communities do not support their activities, and our Trading Standards team will continue to work closely with the police to stop them and bring them to justice."