Illegal tobacco factory uncovered in Burnley
An operation to manufacture illegal tobacco in Burnley has been smashed with more than 700kg of raw tobacco being seized.
The empty shop premises was being used as a factory to make and package cigarettes, and package rolling tobacco. Lancashire Police investigating a complaint last week found a large amount of raw tobacco, branded packaging and materials to make cigarettes were being stored on the premises. In total just under 700kg of raw tobacco was seized, enough tubular papers to make 650,000 individual cigarettes, packaging for Gold Virginia and Amber Leaf tobacco and L&M cigarettes, along with 1,700 pouches of tobacco and 200 packs of L&M cigarettes. If genuine, these illicit products would be worth in the region of £300,000. The tobacco haul has been passed to Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service and enquiries are continuing. County Coun. Albert Atkinson, cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: "This illegal factory demonstrates the value of the illegal tobacco trade, and the lengths that criminals will go to, in order to profit from illicit tobacco products and avoid paying duty. "Tobacco smoking remains the single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death in England, and cheap illicit tobacco makes it easier for young people to take up and continue smoking. Preventing these products from entering the market place protects legitimate businesses and our communities." PC Phil Ellis said “We will continue to work with our colleagues at Trading Standards to share information and disrupt criminals involved in this type of activity.” Anyone with information about illegal tobacco sales can help by reporting it to the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline 03454 040506.