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Illegal tobacco unit arrives in Hull

An illegal tobacco unit - the first of its kind in the UK - is in Hull this week as part of a new education scheme. Photo: ITV Yorkshire

An illegal tobacco unit - the first of its kind in the UK - is in Hull this week as part of a new education scheme.

The mobile hub is open to the public, for people to find out about the risks of illegal tobacco, focusing on the three main issues of enforcement, education and awareness.

The unit will be manned by a team made up of staff from Hull City Council's Trading Standards and Public Health teams, as well as police, stop smoking services and HMRC.

Customs Officers examine the huge haul of illegal tobacco and cigarette-making materials seized from a container at Custom House Credit: PA Images

There will also be a sniffer dog which works with the specialists to search out hidden contraband.

Cllr Mike Thompson, portfolio holder with responsibility for public protection, said: "The unit is a great opportunity for members of the public to meet the teams tasked with tackling illegal tobacco as well as their canine partners".

Illegal tobacco can be counterfeit, where the illicit product is made to look like well-known UK versions; bootlegged, where cheap foreign imports are illegally resold; or smuggled, where foreign brands are brought into the UK via the black market. While the lower prices may seem tempting, it is not worth the risk.

– Cllr Mike Thompson,

Research suggest that levels of cancer-causing chemicals can be higher in counterfeit cigarettes.

The products have also not been subject to any of the safety checks required by law in the UK for legal products.

Revenue and Customs officers investigate illegal tobacco sit in UK earlier this year. Credit: PA Images