1. ITV Report

16,000 illegal cigarettes seized at Byker store

Illegal cigarettes seized Photo: Newcastle City Council

More than 16,000 illegal cigarettes have been seized by a Newcastle Trading Standards raid at a store in Byker.

It is the second haul in as many weeks, bringing the total of seized illegal cigarettes to more than 20,000, following tip offs.

Illegal cigarettes seized Credit: Newcastle City Council

The cigarettes have been smuggled into the UK from Eastern Europe. The stash was hidden inside a laptop case and in a car boot which was parked outside the shop.

Some 16,420 cigarettes have been recovered and it is believed they have a street value of £5,000 and legal value of £10,000.

Here we have another large seizure – the second in as many weeks. All tobacco is harmful and should be avoided, but illegal tobacco also harms legitimate businesses. I’d like to thank the vigilant person who contacted us to tell us about their suspicions. The shop owner clearly went to a lot of bother to hide the tobacco but our officers know all of the places to look. These cigarettes are now destined to go up in smoke – not in the usual way but on a fire.

– Cllr Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services
Cllr Nick Kemp Credit: Newcastle City Council

Around 5,000 illicit cigarettes were also seized by Trading Standards two weeks ago at two non-licensed premises in the city.

Bootleg cigarettes is a multi-billion pound industry that spans the world. Last week we seized cigarettes from China, these ones came in from Eastern Europe. They all harm the smoker, defraud the Exchequer and harm legitimate businesses. We won’t stop doing these visits until people get the message that crime doesn’t pay. They may think they are getting away with it but we will catch them out in the end.

– David Ellerington, Trading Standards Manager