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Stratford among targets for illegal tobacco raids

NEARLY 15,000 cigarettes and over 9kg of hand rolling tobacco have been seized in raids on shops across Warwickshire, including Stratford.

Officers with the Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service, assisted by Warwickshire Police and Border Force carried out the raids over a two-day period last week.

Officers seized 3,000 individual illegal cigarettes and 1.5 kg of illegal tobacco in Stratford as part of the operation.

They used local intelligence to identify shops where cheap illegal cigarettes were being sold and tobacco sniffer dogs were used to hunt for counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes and tobacco hidden in corner shops, mini supermarkets and parked vehicles in Stratford as well as Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby, and Leamington.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “The sellers of cheap illegal cigarettes don’t care who they sell to, making it easier for children and young people to obtain cigarettes and get hooked on smoking and making it harder for adults to quit.”

Investigations are ongoing.

The council used the services of B.W.Y Canine, a leading specialist in detection dogs for UK and International operations.

Cllr Crump added: “Cheap illegal tobacco also threatens the livelihoods of honest genuine businesses and robs the taxpayer of money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.”

“I’m delighted that Warwickshire County Council is working closely with its partners and other agencies to tackle this issue in order to keep Warwickshire residents safe and healthy.”

Anyone with information about the manufacture or sale of illegal tobacco can phone the confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.

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