Suffolk Trading Standards seize 33,000 illegal cigarettes in trio of central Ipswich raids
PUBLISHED: 18:32 20 December 2016 | UPDATED: 18:32 20 December 2016
Officers from Suffolk Trading Standards have seized more than 30,000 illegal cigarettes following a series of raids in Ipswich.
Joined by Suffolk police squads and sniffer dogs, the team carried out three raids in central Ipswich on Monday last week – two at retail stores and one at a residential property.
The majority of the haul was seized from the residential address which included 1,560 packets of cigarettes – the equivalent of 31,200 cigarettes – as well as 198 pouches of tobacco.
In one of the stores, officers spotted a tin of baby food on a shelf near the till with a lid slightly ajar. Inside they found four pouches of tobacco and 36 packets of cigarettes.
Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Sellers of illegal tobacco rarely care who they sell to, but fewer people are now prepared to ignore it.
“People can make a real difference to help keep more illegal tobacco off the streets by reporting it. We need to keep the pressure up on those who continue to sell it.
“Thanks to the Suffolk Trading Standards officers for their work in seizing this illegal tobacco and their continued work to ensure less and less of it is on our streets.”
A Trading Standards spokesman said that five men involved were part of a formal investigation, and that samples of the cigarettes had been sent for testing to confirm they are counterfeit. The five men will then be questioned.
The raids took place after an illegal tobacco roadshow earlier this year helped police and Trading Standards gather information.
Among the brands recovered were Rothmans, Winston, Regal, Golden Virginia, Amber Leaf, Marlboro, Richmond, Mayfair and Cutters Choice.
Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Substances contained in illegal tobacco are not controlled and some have been found to contain wood chippings and rat poison.
“Smoking is one of the biggest risks to people’s health and cheap cigarettes and tobacco could encourage more people, especially children, to smoke.
“Thanks to Suffolk Trading Standards for their work to make sure this potentially dangerous tobacco is not sold in our communities.”