Tobacco raid in Brierley Hill
Dudley Council’s trading standards officers supported West Midlands Police yesterday as part of an operation to crack down on illegal tobacco trading.
The police led activity, which involved a number of partner agencies, targeted two retail premises in Brierley Hill that were suspected of selling illegal tobacco.
Enforcement officers were accompanied by a number of tobacco detection dogs at the two locations, which cannot be named at this time.
At the first premises, a hidden compartment in the ceiling space of the stock room was discovered containing what is thought to be in the region of £10,000 worth of mixed brands of illicit and counterfeit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco products.
A short time later, a smaller but still significant seizure of illegal tobacco was made at a nearby convenience store where the business owner had also attempted to conceal his stock.
The evidence gained by the authority’s trading standards team will be used to pursue Closure Orders on shops known to be involved in the supply of illegal tobacco to the local community.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
Yesterday’s successful operation is a reminder to anyone considering trading in illegal tobacco that it will not be tolerated in our borough and those who choose to pursue such illicit behaviour will face the strong arm of the law.
I would like to thank everyone involved in this important work, helping to protect our residents from illegal and counterfeit tobacco, which can have very dangerous implications for a person’s health.
Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, making it even easier for them to get hooked on smoking. Sales are often linked to criminal gangs, who do not care who they sell to.
Illegal tobacco products do not display the health warnings required by UK legislation and do not alert the customer to the serious health risks associated with them.
Anyone who has information about illegal tobacco trade can report to the trading standards team on 01384 818872.