Tobacco, cigarettes and cash seized and shops forced to close in Thanet and Folkestone enforcement operation

Seized items

Six thousand packets of cigarettes and rolling tobacco and £4,000  have been seized and eight shops forced to close during a week-long enforcement operation in Margate, Ramsgate and Folkestone.

Kent County Council Trading Standards officers, with the support of Kent Police and immigrations teams,  targeted illicit tobacco sellers in the intelligence-led operation.

A total of 21 premises were visited with eight closed – seven in Thanet – due to issues of staff working illegally or without leave to stay in the UK.

Premises across Thanet were targeted on the first day of the operation, (Friday, March 19) and despite action being taken, more goods were seized when shops were revisited the following Monday and Tuesday.

On Friday, March 19 six premises attended simultaneously by Trading Standards, Kent Police and immigration officers in Ramsgate and Margate resulted in approximately 5,000 packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco being seized.

Three shops were forced to close due to being operated by illegal workers and a referral was made to Kent Fire and Rescue Service due to an unsafe premises.

Further significant intelligence found a link to members of organised crime. Approximately £2,000 was seized by Kent Police

On Monday, March 22 four premises visited, three of which were open

Another 613 packets of cigarettes and 89 pouches of hand rolling tobacco were seized and two shops were forced to close due to being operated by workers without leave to work.

Police seized approximately £1,500 in cash from the shops and associated persons.

The following day five premises were visited, four of which were open and a further 650 packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco were seized.

Two premises were forced to shut and about £500 was seized by Kent Police

A Covid-19 prohibition notice was issued to a tattoo parlour found to be operating.

On Thursday, March 25 six visits were carried out to premises in Folkestone with 11 pouches of tobacco seized, immigration offences reported and one business forced to shut due to being operated by a worker with no right to work in the UK

Clive Phillips, Operations Manager for KCC Trading Standards, said: “We will continue to work with our enforcement partners in clamping down on the sale of illicit tobacco.

“Illegal tobacco brings organised crime into our communities while making smoking more affordable for those attempting to quit and making it more accessible to young people.

“Shops selling illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously through 0300 999 6 999 or by visiting .”


  1. Well done to all involved in these operations. Those who work illegally either through their immigration status or by selling illegal tobacco products should not be permitted to earn money when there are thousands of honest people who would really appreciate a job as well as all those who do work and are paying their fair share of taxes etc.

  2. Why do Asians, particularly Indian’s and Pakistan’s do it. They know they are breaking Import and Tobacco Tax regulations and Laws, but still they carry on and on. Their profit Margin is set quite high anyway. There is no feasible reason, just greed.
    I hope they are punished/fined for the audacity for taking our HMRC for granted.
    I would add that I am NOT racist in any way.

    • I think it’s a sad reflection on our education system that God-fearing white Englishmen mangle their own language in such a way.
      It wouldn’t be so bad if the errors were consistent. But, for goodness’ sake, if Indian’s and Parkistan’s (whatever they are) take an apostrophe in the plural, then, surely, Asians should too.
      Of course, there shouldn’t be any apostrophes at all. Asians, Indians and Pakestanis are correct.
      So glad your posting isn’t racist. If you hadn’t said so, one might have thought it was.

    • Maybe because of the white persons obsession with consuming knock off tobacco products & booze to diddle the taxman & save a few quid? Maybe we should ask why the poison should be sold legally & profited on when the NHS then has to deal with the horrendous fallout of people consuming it?

      The same obsession that sees Indian & Pakistan citizens, along with other poor countries & many of them children working in sweatshops for 20p an hour to make our clothing cheap-we occasionally show some interest when a roof caves in on a condemned building & kills everybody, but then a few weeks later are back off to buy whatever cheap fashion is going this week, wear it a few times & then bin it.

  3. Clive Phillips, Operations Manager for KCC Trading Standards, said: “We will continue to work with our enforcement partners in clamping down on the sale of illicit tobacco. “Illegal tobacco brings organised crime into our communities while making smoking more affordable for those attempting to quit and making it more accessible to young people.

    They primarily do these raids a the behest of the tobacco corporations because it cuts into their mammoth profits made by poisoning/killing people-the standards officers usually trot out the dangerous substances in the knock off cancer sticks, which is highly ironic considering the horrendous concoction of poison in the ‘legit’ ones-Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Formaldehyde, Hydrogen Cyanide etc. A feat of modern marketing-if you handed people those things for free & said munch away they would look at you like you were mad, put it in a packet & charge a kings ransom for it & they merrily puff away.

    • Same places as last time. Always the same shops doing it. To be challenged once every two years by Trading standards they find it worthwhile to carry on. Until the authorities enforce this illegal trade better they will just carry on without any fear whtsoever.

  4. Its good to see action being taken but remember just how much of your money the taxman is taking. Tax when you earn, tax when you spend, council tax & all the others.

  5. Whilst I in no way can condone the selling of contraband cigarettes and tobacco, most probably by Asian shop keepers, its also due to the fact Asylum Seekers are not allowed to work whilst their claim is being investigated! This can take months, so in the meantime they have to try and exist on a paltry income from Benefits, and live in poor, hardly habitable accommodation. They are probably being exploited by the shop owners, who will pay them small ex gratia payments! But at least they may get a bit of pocket money out of it.

    • Your a pillock Richard! I was a Refugee once along with my mum, after the Germans blew up half our street, and the roof! We were buried inside a “table” shelter for 12 hours so my mum said, although I don’t have much of memory of it, except seeing the ceiling come crashing down! That was in Bromley, and as my mum was pregnant with my younger brother (who died just a few days short of his 75th birthday, the year before last) we were evacuated to Stoke on Trent, 3 mums and assorted children to a 3 bed terraced house, although an extra cooker was installed on the landing for boiling nappies, a smell that will never leave me! Our rations were meagre, and I remember my mum having a stand up row in a Register Officer that was dolling out free orange juice, because they hadn’t included my baby brother in the ration!

      Anyway, the point is Asylum Seekers are escaping terrible conditions, and often persecution, so they deserve some Christian compassion, that seems to be lacking in you Richard. Incidentally, this Tory government is trying to cut overseas aid, which if successful will guarantee more illegal migrants trying to get here! Overseas aid if properly used, can improve the infrastructure, schools, hospitals, road, bridges and the like in developing countries, so the local populations will have a better chance staying in their own countries won’t they! Get help for your pillockism Richard.

  6. Pillockism is a very good and appropriate new word! Unfortunately the condition itself seems to be rather common.

  7. In reply to Dumpton if you have nothing constructive to say i suggest you say no more on this matter!!!!!!!!!.

  8. This tobacco is not only illegal it is counterfeit and adulterated.

    The Police should examine those pouches.

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