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  1. ITV Report

Raids lead to massive haul of illegal tobacco

. Credit: Press Association.

Trading standards officers in Norfolk seized more hand rolling tobacco during raids this week than the whole of last year.

A series of inspections were carried out on Monday, September 11, when Norfolk County Council officials and police visited three stores in Great Yarmouth.

Helped by tobacco detection dogs Scamp, Yoyo and Ralph, they found 4,700 illegal cigarettes and 4.65kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco hidden in places including behind a fuse box.

Raids at a further two premises linked to one of those stores uncovered a further 69,000 cigarettes and 37.5kg of tobacco.

That afternoon, inspectors found more than 1,000 cigarettes and 4kg of tobacco at two shops in Norwich.

Brian Chatten, community safety and fair trading manager for Trading Standards, said the shops involved were "making smoking more accessible to children by selling illegal tobacco at pocket-money prices".

"Retailers who sell illegal tobacco are putting the health of the young people of Norfolk at even greater risk. They are also supporting the organised crime gangs, some of whom operate modern day slavery, that we know are linked to this criminal activity."

– Brian Chatten, community safety and fair trading manager.

Last year, inspectors seized a total of 49.1kg of hand rolling tobacco.

All the raids were carried out thanks to information provided by members of the public, businesses and police.