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Illegal cigarettes worth £2,000 found stashed in hidden compartment of Cheltenham shop

Illegal tobacco and cigarettes worth £2,000 were found stashed inside a hidden compartment by Trading Standards. Credit: Gloucestershire County Council

Illegal tobacco and cigarettes worth more than £2,000 have been seized by Trading Standards after they were found stashed in the door frame of a Cheltenham shop.

Trading Standards officers from Gloucestershire County Council uncovered the hidden stash during a recent inspection.

Their suspicions were raised after officers recognised two men working in the shop from another store that was known to sell illegal tobacco.

Officers also noticed the shop, which has not been named but was based in the High Street area, had limited stock - certainly not enough to provide a legal income.

Some of the stash. Credit: Gloucestershire County Council

According to Trading Standards, this is a common trait among shops involved in the sale of illegal tobacco.

During a search of the premises on March 6, officers found a concealed hiding place within the frame of a door.

By pulling part of it away from the wall, officers revealed a hidden compartment which extended into the wall of the shop when closed.

353
packs of cigarettes found.
77
pouches of 50g hand-rolled tobacco.
£2,000
Total value of stash found by Trading Standards.

The hiding place contained 353 packs of 20 cigarettes including counterfeit versions of Regal and Richmond and 77 pouches of 50g hand-rolling tobacco.

Watch the moment Trading Standards officers found the stash below:

Our trading standards officers continue the fight against illegal tobacco sales. No matter how creative their hiding places get, we will not tolerate the sale of illegal tobacco in Gloucestershire.

It poses a significant risk to public health as well as undercutting legitimate law abiding traders and taking money from the public purse, which funds the vital services we rely on.

– Cllr Dave Norman

The Trading Standards investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with any information which might help is asked to call Trading Standards on 03454 040506, email tradingstandards@gloucestershire.gov.uk or get in touch anonymously via their website.