Croydon Council trading standards and HM Revenue and Customs teamed up with specialist detection dogs to track down and seize illegal tobacco worth over £175,000 from a storage unit.
Officers recovered 270,600 illegal cigarettes and 14.8 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco from a storage facility during the joint operation with BWY Canine Ltd on Tuesday 22 February. The investigation remains ongoing.
Since the end of September, Croydon’s trading standards and HM Revenue and Customs have seized over 660,000 cigarettes and over 375 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco worth over half a million pounds.
The crackdown is part of Operation CeCe, a national campaign which focuses on joint working between trading standards and HM Revenue and Customs.
Anyone who is prosecuted and convicted of being involved in selling or supplying illegal tobacco can face penalties including up to 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who continue to work hard as part of this joint operation.
“The amount of illegal tobacco the team have seized since the end of September has been incredible. The operation is keeping our residents safe from illegal tobacco, which can be easier for children and young people to access and makes it harder for people to give up as the product is more affordable.
“Illegal tobacco often does not include correct health warnings and also supports the organised criminal gangs who smuggle the tobacco in and sell it on, which has deep links to modern-day slavery.”
Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, cabinet member for communities, safety and business recovery
If you have information about the sale of illegal tobacco in Croydon please report it via the Citizens Advice Consumer Advice line on 0808 223 1133.