GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council’s Trading Standards team and Gloucestershire Police joined staff from Smoke Free South West to promote the work being done to tackle illegal tobacco in the county.
During the roadshow on Thursday, August 7 trading standards officers noticed a potential transaction of illegal tobacco at a local shop.
Along with police officers they went on to uncover 50g of hand rolling tobacco valued at more than £700 and 406 packs of cigarettes worth over £1,600.
The tobacco was concealed in a partition wall separating the shop floor from the stock room. The storage area used electromagnets to keep the opening closed and was operated by radio control.
In addition, this morning trading standards officers seized another 87 packets of illegal cigarettes worth over £700 with the help of Phoebe and Scamp, two tobacco detection spaniels from specialist search dog services, B.W.Y. Canine. The packages had been well concealed under the stores floor boards.
The illegal tobacco will be used at the roadshow to help promote further awareness and then later destroyed.
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for trading standards, said: “The discovery demonstrates the dedication of a number of organisations in the county to make sure that illegal tobacco is removed from our streets.
“It also goes to show the importance of awareness raising events, not only as an opportunity for our officers and partner organisations to get to the heart of the problem, but also to show the public and businesses that illegal tobacco won’t be tolerated.”
Eddie Coventry, head of Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards, said: “As always, we will remain vigilant and continue to take action to stop this criminal activity in the county.
"We would encourage consumers to carry on reporting shops selling illegal products and would urge people visiting the Eastgate Shopping Centre this weekend to drop in and see the team at the Smokefree South West stand.”
Illegal tobacco is known to make it easier for children to start smoking, because it is sold at pocket money prices. Gloucestershire County Council has been working with Smokefree South West on a campaign to encourage fewer people to buy it and more people to report it.
Selling illegal tobacco is a criminal offence. Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco can contact Gloucestershire Trading Standards on 01452 887655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, report it anonymously online at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
They cannot trace your call and will never ask for your name.