Trading Standards officers in Kent have carried out a series of targeted raids in Thanet and Folkestone and seized thousands of illicit tobacco products.
Working in partnership with HMRC, Thanet District Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Kent Police the raids took place on retail premises, including in Cliftonville, as part of the ongoing national Operation CeCe.
Supported by a specialist search dog team, officers visited 6 premises and located concealed stores of illicit tobacco in five of them.
The illegal products included 30,540 cigarettes and 14kg of hand rolling tobacco, 247 pots of shisha and 79 illegal vapes. The illegal products were found stashed behind sophisticated hides which were uncovered with the help of the detection dog.
Officers also discovered that an electricity meter had been bypassed and identified possible immigration offences which are now being investigated.
Clive Phillips, Operations Manager for Kent County Council Trading Standards, said “We will work with our enforcement partners using all available tactics to disrupt this illegal activity”.
“The sale of illicit tobacco undermines local legitimate businesses and puts money into the pockets of organised criminals. We will do everything in our power to protect the safety and rights of the residents and businesses of Kent.”
“The sale of illicit tobacco also makes 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 www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk “
PC Tristan Foster, from Kent Police’s Thanet Community Policing Team, said: ‘The sale of illicit tobacco is not a victimless crime – as well as any health risks these products could bring to those who buy and use them, their sale can also fund organised criminality. It is often used as a means of money laundering to fund a range of illicit activities from terrorism to modern slavery.
‘We will continue to work with partner agencies to seize goods and disrupt the criminality supported by their sale.’
Cllr George Kup, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Youth Engagement for Thanet District Council, said: “Along with our partner agencies, we are committed to the fight against cheap and illicit tobacco.
“These successful raids should send a strong message to businesses not cooperating with authorities when it comes to making our district a better place to live. Illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime – it harms legitimate businesses and society in general due to tax not being paid, facilitates the supply of tobacco to underage people and supports organised criminal networks.”
“I would like to thank all of the partners for their hard work on this operation as well as members of the public for reporting illegal sales. I encourage everyone to continue to do this and help reduce the harm caused by tobacco in our communities.”
Clifton over spill again… Same shops? same owners ?
Need a multi agency blitz on Northdown road and surrounding streets.
Also available in chatham..i bought a packet and became ill.
This shop only sells fake brands
Not genuine ones.
Should raid the shops in ashford they are all selling dodgy tobacco especially lucky star and the convenience store ,amber leaf £13 50g
Totally agree. Mass raids / deportations/ book burnings etc.
quite right , its well known which shops are commiting these crimes , and who the people are , but its almost as if its overlooked and allowed to go on , even when they are caught they open the shop up again in a different name and so it goes on. but then again all thats driving it is tax . but thats a story for another day ?
Make the felon’s pay big fines or bett still
Lock them up
For God’s sake people-stop buying the cheap fake stuff that hurts your health/kills you & make sure you pay the premium price to the wonderful Tobacco companies that only produce a product that is totally safe & fantastic for your health/life expectancy, so the billionaire bosses can buy another Ferrari this quarter & the government can get their silky cut of the proceeds.
Such a true statement
It’s because in their own Country they can do what they like.
This country is bogged down with so many different rules and regulations, it has become a ‘rip-off’ state. I mean electricity and gas Companies, they are ripping us off every second of the day, but Government appears to acceptable to do this.
In India electricity and fags are cheap, unfortunately, not here.
Working hand in hand with Philip Morris & Imperial Brands
1. The sale of illicit tobacco undermines local legitimate businesses and puts money into the pockets of organised criminals.
So what are the tobacco cartels, whose products by the end of this century will have wiped out a billion lives then? Far worse than any organised crime gang or Genocidal Banana Republic or Middle Eastern/African dictatorship you can imagine-but hey, the law says they are law abiding citizens & can murder a billion people with no issue & carry on into the next century.
2. Illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime – it harms legitimate businesses and society in general due to tax not being paid, facilitates the supply of tobacco to underage people and supports organised criminal networks.”
Neither is legal tobacco. Yet you can buy it over the counter in the same shops selling the illegal stuff at a premium price & is just as dangerous to health. But of course the key word there was tax. Guess what buddy-young children & adults are exploited in the Tobacco industry in the third world, also for probably every bit of clothing you & the rest of us wear.
3. “These successful raids should send a strong message to businesses not cooperating with authorities when it comes to making our district a better place to live.
Yet the shops always remain open don’t they & re-offend? Just like the Cliftonville car wash gang master who was given a slap on the wrist for various offences recently-so where is the deterrent? Because nobody ever seems to go to jail & those their business.
If someone want’s to smoke they will , packet off the shelf say £12 , under the counter £6 , both will kill one in the end.I know what I would do.
Under age smoking , I used to get someone else to go in the shop for me.
What has this got to do with other drugs, I doubt if dealers will bother with a couple of quid on a pouch or pack.
Didn’t they do well, all the time , money spent catching them could have been better used elsewhere.
Cut the tax and there would be no demand , problem sorted.
Leads to crime , yes they that expensive to buy legal , need the money so will have to turn to crime.
These things are led by the Tobacco company. Seen it on documentaries on television years back-they hire investigators to sniff around & then rat on them to the cops or even go on the raids with the authorities-purely to protect their deaths sticks revenues.
Ban it completely – Nicotine substitutes are available with quit smoking programs. Save yourselves.
No the shops last time still closed in Northdown road. It is always a problem. The sale of tobacco will never stop. The Government tax smoking heavily. Its an addiction but you will never see Tories ban it too much arms deals in it too.
You think Labour would ban it?
I think the main stumbling block is the NHS-always seems half of their workforce smoke looking at the entrances when you go there or go past & see them puffing with the patients/visitors.