Tobacco, cigarettes and cash seized during Trading Standards crackdown in Margate and Ramsgate

Image KCC

Trading Standards  have been targeting Margate and Ramsgate traders selling illicit tobacco.

The action is part of Operation CeCe – a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco and with support of Kent Police and immigrations teams.

Premises previously identified as selling illicit tobacco were revisited this week, resulting in 724 packs of cigarettes and 8kg of hand rolling tobacco seized from four shops on Tuesday and a further 169 packets of cigarettes and 5kg of hand rolling tobacco seized from three shops on Wednesday.

In addition, the Immigration Service will be issuing fines to two workers and one shop was requested to shut as it was being staffed by individuals without the appropriate work status. About £1,500, believed to be the proceeds of crime, was seized by Kent Police.

Clive Phillips, Operations Manager for KCC Trading Standards, said: “We will continue to work alongside our enforcement partners, taking action against the sale of this counterfeit tobacco for as long as this illegal trade continues.

“The sale of illicit tobacco undermines local legitimate businesses and inevitably funds organised crime. We will do everything in our power to protect the safety and rights of the residents and businesses of Kent.

“Illegal tobacco brings organised crime into communities while making smoking more affordable for young people and those attempting to quit. Shops selling illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously through 0300 999 6 999 or by visiting .”


  1. So premises previously identified are continuing to flout the law, and a business with illegal workers is only requested to shut .
    Hardly seems as though the law has any real willingness to deal with them. Might just as well let them do as they wish.

  2. every one knows who the people are that commit these crimes in thier shops – but once again – dont say anything or you will be seen as a racist.

    • What you have in mind, that they are immigrants, is probably true. However, it is a complete myth that you cannot say it. Thanet is full of people saying “you’re not allowed to say” this or that while saying it, overand over again, in my experience

      • I have witnessed packets of rolling tobacco passing hands in pubs before now, and they were not foreign hands!

  3. We had this a few weeks ago, and there was a lot of argument about whether or not people were being targeted because they were of foreign persuasion well the law is for all not just for the few.

    • Too much money they pocket from taxing it to do that, despite the human cost & huge cost to the NHS dealing with the decades of ill health.

    • And drive it underground and cause a massive increase in the problem? By far the best solution is to reduce the tax on tobacco products sufficiently to make tobacco/cigarette smuggling not worth the financial gain. This would also allow redeployment of resources currently used to investigate such activity, and almost certainly would bring in a higher tax yield in terms of absolute total revenue; if you halve the tax, you’ll more than double the sales.

    • No, I can see where he’s coming from. A packet of a well known brand with red as a main colour on the box is 11-12 quid; in South Korea (a modern, industrialized nation, a democracy, and with an excellent, cheap nationwide public transport system that is heavily subsidized by the government) it would cost less than 3. I can guess which government makes more out of tobacco taxes in terms of a total figure…

  4. As those committing other crimes can be named, why not also such shops? Then honest law abiding, tax paying citizens can then choose whether they wish to continue going to such shops. And by tax paying I don’t just mean those working and paying tax, but everyone who doesn’t try to get things on the cheap and thus avoid paying tax which goes to the Treasury which ultimately then pays for the NHS, benefits etc etc etc.

  5. Thank goodness Trading Standards & the Tobacco Companies have worked hand in hand again to take this dangerous stuff off the streets & protect the profit margins of those making the safe real thing & the UK government.

  6. Trading Standards and the Courts are toothless….£1500 fine is probably a day’s takings for one of these shops. No wonder they can pay the fine and then continue selling illicit tobacco. Makes sense why there always seems to be someone hovering outside the shops acting as look out!

  7. Must be at least 4 times these shops have been done by trading standards and the police. Northdown Road again, everyone knows which ones!
    Why is there no other penalties to stop them carrying on as soon as the authorities leave. They are laughing at them as break open another carton. One law for them another for the rest of us as usual. They should be made an example of otherwise this will just keep expanding as others feel it is worth the risk.

  8. Jane – if they made it public which shops it was then it would be free advertising for their illicit stock, as they’ve clearly not stopped since the previous publicised raid. Imagine how many people aren’t as law abiding as you who wouldn’t mind knowing where these shops are.

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