Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Ipswich: Crackdown on dodgy vendors seizes thousands of illegal cigarettes and booze from town centre shops

14:43 02 May 2014

Multi agency raids on shops in Ipswich looking for illicit alcohol and tobacco. Cigarettes in a secret compartment under the till.

Multi agency raids on shops in Ipswich looking for illicit alcohol and tobacco. Cigarettes in a secret compartment under the till.

Archant

Nearly 10,000 illegal cigarettes and 25 bottles of illicit alcohol were seized yesterday in Ipswich as inspectors swooped on five shops in the town.

shares
Multi agency raids on shops in Ipswich looking for illicit alcohol and tobacco. Lee Nunn (trading standards) with seized vodka.Multi agency raids on shops in Ipswich looking for illicit alcohol and tobacco. Lee Nunn (trading standards) with seized vodka.

Officers from Suffolk Trading Standards, the police and HM Revenue & Customs launched the operation to crackdown on dodgy vendors who sell the cigarettes and booze at knock down prices.

They were joined by members of the Ipswich Borough Council licensing team and specially trained sniffer dogs.

Two shops in Ipswich town centre were raided simultaneously in order to prevent the owners in one from finding out that inspectors were on the prowl.

Officers were acting on intelligence about the premises and had received search warrants. In both the town centre shops, a sniffer dog found secret compartments stuffed with illicit tobacco.

One of the shops had over 700 packs of tobacco as well as illicit alcohol in a back store.

The officers then moved on to three other premises in the Ipswich area, one of which was found to contain illicit products. A total of 9,560 illicit cigarettes were found during the raids as well as 4.1kg of hand-rolling tobacco. The products represented a £8,679 of duty evaded.

Illicit products can mean cigarettes and alcohol that have been smuggled or bootlegged into the country to avoid paying tax, or counterfeit products that are illegally manufactured.

Fake tobacco has in the past been found to contain harmful ingredients like rat droppings and saw-dust while illegally made alcohol can include anti-freeze and high levels of ethanol, so officers are fearful of the public health risks.

The authorities also brought along experts from Imperial Tobacco and the alcohol industry who could easily spot fake products.

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection said: “These black market traders cause major problems for legitimate retailers having to compete with so-called bargain prices. Some of the products sold are untested and produced in an environment that is often unsafe and unregulated.

“Those selling illicit products often have no regard to who they sell to, which can include children. Taking these products out of circulation is a positive step for consumers.”

James Garrett, an officer with Suffolk Trading Standards, said the selling of illegal goods was sometimes linked to much higher level crime.

“Sometimes it is petty and low level for example those people just chancing their arm and trying to make a bit of extra cash for themselves,” he said. “However sometimes what you find is some people are doing it on a larger scale and the illicit tobacco and the illicit alcohol trade links back to more organized criminals.”

Stuart Hughes, senior Trading Standards officer, described what happens when the illicit products are found.

“We’ll have to take some of this stuff away, some of it will be sent to trademark holders to confirm whether it is counterfeit or genuine, if it’s genuine then the shop will get it back but we have some trade representatives here and we’ve already confirmed that much of this stuff shouldn’t be being sold.

“We’ll be talking to the shop owner, it will be very precursory chat at the moment, but we will want to speak to him at a later date.”

“We’ve found a small amount on the bottom floor of the premises here, upstairs we’ve found somewhere in the region of 700 packs of counterfeit or illicit tobacco, so obviously that is tobacco that is taking away from the genuine economy here in Ipswich and Suffolk and it undermines the legal traders here who are trying to sell legitimate products.”

Depending on the severity of the offence, selling illegal alcohol or tobacco can result in a fine of £5,000.

shares
Barry Studd wins Holywells Ward at the local election count at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

It was a bad night for the Tories in Ipswich - and a great one for Labour as they gained two seats on the borough council.

The Colchester Borough Election count at Charter Hall.

Here we bring you the results as they are announced from yesterday’s council and police and crime commissioner elections.

The crash happened in Granville Street, which is just off Norwich Road.

A man has been taken to hospital with a leg injury after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car in Granville Street, Ipswich.

Pub quiz.

British author and mathematician Bertrand Russell said: “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.”

Pupils from Holbrook primary with some of the 3D printed enhaler caps inspired but Tim Peake. 
Tristan and Jack

It isn’t every day your school gets a message from space.

Polling stations have now closed

Ballot boxes are being rounded up and votes will soon be verified following today’s local elections, and the police and crime commissioner ballots.

Stock image of the A12.

A number of ladders have fallen from a lorry onto the road and central reservation on the A12 at East Bergholt.

Twiggy is a big fan of Suffolk

Suffolk isn’t know for its glitz and glammer and A-list celebrities but there are an ‘A-Team’ of stars linked to the county, as Connor McLoone discovered.

File picture of two horse riders.

Fire, police and ambulance crews worked together to free a woman who was trapped under a horse in a ditch.

Kim Sale pictured at her home in Kesgrave with mum, Kellie Thorndyke.

Kesgrave teenager Kim Sale says she is looking forward to the rest of her life, almost a year to the day since she was dealt the devastating news that a tumour in her leg was cancerous.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24