£12,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and vapes seized in Preston shops

Credit: Lancashire Police

Thousands of pounds worth of illegal counterfeit nicotine products have been seized from shops.

Officers from Preston's Neighbourhood Policing Team seized the illegal products, including cigarettes and vapes, from two shops in Preston.

If sold as genuine, the 1,228 items would be worth around £12,000.

During the operation on Monday 9 October, a sum of £1,000, believed to be proceeds of crime, was also seized.

They seized 1228 goods, including illegal cigarettes and vapes. Credit: Lancashire Police

In one of the shops, items were hidden behind a concealed storage compartment which was secured using a remote control magnetic lock.

Sergeant Roz Walsh, from Preston’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Information from the public is invaluable to the police.

"Without it, we would be unable to carry out this sort of proactive work which helps to prevent and detect crime, ensuring the safeguarding and protection of our community.”  

It was part of the Operation Centurion initiative, which sees Lancashire Constabulary join forces with Trading Standards Team.

If sold, the goods could be worth up to £12,000. Credit: Lancashire Police

Sergeant Roz Walsh added: “This operation demonstrates the strong working relationships that we have with our partners and the commitment we all have to working together to tackle this sort of activity which often leads to anti-social behaviour in the surrounding communities."

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: "Cheap, illicit tobacco and illegal vapes are all too easily available to purchase and the sale of illegal products has a serious impact on both legitimate businesses, and on our communities.

"If you can help to pinpoint businesses that might be adding to this issue, please refer any intelligence on illegal tobacco or vapes sales to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133." 

Operation Centurion is Lancashire Police’s response to tackling anti-social behaviour backed by Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden and £2m of extra funding secured from the Government’s new Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan. 

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