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New campaign to target illegal tobacco trade

Trade in illegal tobacco available at ‘pocket money prices’ is the target of a county-wide campaign.

The East Sussex Tobacco Partnership is launching the campaign to highlight the dangers of illegal tobacco and target those involved in its supply.

Illegal tobacco is available in various places in the community including the workplace, private homes, pubs, markets, car boot sales and on the street. The distribution network is unregulated and tobacco is easily accessible to children and young people.

Work to protect young people is undermined by the wide availability and accessibility of illegal tobacco at pocket money prices. The illegal tobacco trade is not a victimless crime. Cheap, illegal tobacco makes it easier for our children to smoke and become addicted. I would urge anyone who is aware of where illegal tobacco is being sold to report this information. Reporting activity anonymously via Crimestoppers enables colleagues in Trading Standards to act on this intelligence, and contributes to improving the health of local people by disrupting trade.”

– Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex County Council

Smuggled tobacco found in shop raids

Smuggled and counterfeit tobacco has been found at shops in North Kent in raids led by KCC Trading Standards.

Officers visited six convenience stores in Gravesham, resulting in the seizure of 55,000 illegal cigarettes and some packs of tobacco.

tobacco raids
Thousands of packs of illegal cigarettes seized during raids Credit: Kent County Council

Trading Standards Manager, Richard Strawson, said, "We all recognise that smoking is one of the biggest causes of ill health. The trade in illicit tobacco makes a serious issue worse because the controls on safety standards, which apply to legitimate traders, are not carried out."

tobacco raids
Thousands of packs of illegal cigarettes seized during raids Credit: Kent County Council

In total, more than seven kilos of tobacco and more than 1,000 cigarettes were seized from the two premises and the total duty evaded is estimated at almost £2,200.

Revenue and Customs Officers also seized two boxes of alcoholic drinks from a convenience store.

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