Shop raids uncover illegal tobacco
Sniffer dogs uncovered hundreds of packets of illegal tobacco during raids on shops in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale.
During the operation, involving police and trading standards, 857 packs of contraband cigarettes, 128 packs of tobacco, 248 tobacco blunts and cigar rolls were seized after 48 retail premises were visited.
Raids took place over four days, with illicit tobacco being found in 13 shops. Also confiscated were 68 packs of unlicensed, unsafely stored fireworks and a number of lasers, toys, air fresheners, e-cigarettes and e-liquids which failed to meet safety standards.
The haul included counterfeit and non-duty-paid tobacco products which cannot be legally sold in the UK.
Two dogs help to find the tobacco which unscrupulous traders often conceal in unusual places such as hidden compartments and cash machines.
County Coun. Janice Hanson, Cabinet member for public protection, said: “We regularly act on intelligence received from the public, and the success of this operation shows that even the smallest piece of intelligence can make all the difference.
“It also demonstrates that more and more people are beginning to understand the serious threat that illegal tobacco poses to our communities and, just as tellingly, that fewer and fewer people are prepared to tolerate it.”
Chief Insp. Julian Platt, of Lancashire Police, added: “The police were delighted to work with trading standards on this series of raids, as they have undoubtedly helped to take a range of illegal and potentially very harmful products off the streets of East Lancashire, thus protecting our residents.”