Thousands of illegal cigarettes and 50 kilos of tobacco worth £18,000 seized from Kent shops

40,000 illegal cigarettes and 50 kilos of tobacco were seized by police and Trading Standards. Credit: Kent Police

40,000 illegal cigarettes and 50 kilos of tobacco worth thousands of pounds has been seized from two shops in Maidstone in Kent.

Kent Trading Standards and the town's Neighbourhood Task Force discovered the illegal goods during inspections in the town centre and Fant area on Wednesday last week. (9 August)

Police say two shops were found to be in order while, but at two other locations, 40,000 cigarettes and around 50 kilos of rolling tobacco with a combined value of £18,000, were seized.

Checks carried out outside each property uncovered cigarettes concealed in a car boot.

Clive Phillips, Operations Manager for Kent Trading Standards, said: "Working alongside Kent Police officers, we have removed a significant amount of illegal tobacco from shops in Maidstone as a result of information received. Illegal tobacco brings organised crime into the community and undermines legitimate businesses.

"Trading Standards urges anyone with concerns about illegal tobacco in their neighbourhood to report the matter."

Inspector Steve Kent, of the Maidstone Community Safety Unit, said: "As part of our ongoing enforcement against organised criminal groups, my officers regularly work with Trading Standards teams to identify businesses which might be involved in illegal activity, such as money laundering and the sale of illicit tobacco and counterfeit goods.

"These offences often attract anti-social behaviour and other types of crime.

"The businesses also have a detrimental impact on legitimate local traders and our inspections will continue while the Trading Standards investigation is underway."

Shops selling illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the Stop Illegal Tobacco Hotline 0300 999 6 999.

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