Trading Standards net illegal tobacco in Preston operation

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards officers have seized a large haul of illicit tobacco from a shop in Preston in a joint operation with the police.

An inspection of the premises in the Ribbleton area on Tuesday 26 March led to over 600 packs being confiscated from a stockroom in the shop and a vehicle parked nearby.

The assistant present in the shop at the time was unable to produce any ID and claimed to be homeless. He has been arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally and could face deportation.

It is the latest of a number of seizures and prosecutions by Trading Standards in recent months.

In a recent case in the east of the county, the offenders were the subject of a confiscation order to repay almost £100,000 of their ill-gotten gains.

Paul Noone, head of Lancashire County Council Trading Standards service, said: "The number of cases we are dealing with demonstrates the value of the illegal trade in tobacco, with some unscrupulous retailers clearly being reluctant to comply with the law on tobacco sales.

"The sale and manufacture of illegal tobacco has a serious impact on legitimate businesses, and our communities, and is something we're determined to tackle.

"It has a negative impact on people's health, with cheap illegal tobacco helping to keep smoking rates high, and being more affordable to children. Smoking remains the largest preventable cause of ill health and premature death in the UK.

"Our officers will continue to take robust enforcement action in relation to the sale of illegal tobacco in Lancashire, including seeking confiscation of any financial gain from offenders where possible."

Consumers can report sales of illicit tobacco to Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Tagged as: Consumer Advice

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