Illegal nicotine products including cigarettes, counterfeit hand rolling tobacco and vapes, which, if sold as genuine, would be worth around £7000, have been seized as part of a joint operation between Preston Police and Lancashire Trading Standards.
During the operation last Tuesday (7th March), officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Team, along with Trading Standards seized a total of 1024 goods from three shops across the city.
In one of the shops, products were found hidden from view behind a swing-out wall fixing.
Sgt Martin Hughes, from Preston Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are committed to continuing to tackle this type of crime which has a negative impact on genuine businesses but also on the health and well being of the public. We would encourage the public to let us know if they believe shops or establishments are supplying these kinds of products so that we can take positive action.”
Trading Standards Officer, Dawn Robinson, said "The items seized were a mixture of illicit tobacco products, either counterfeit or bearing incorrect health warnings, and illegal vapes. The sheer volume of seizures of these products by Trading Standards (twenty-two from Lancashire retailers so far in 2023) demonstrates the value of the illegal trade in these products, with some unscrupulous retailers clearly reluctant to comply with the law.
“Cheap illicit tobacco is readily available to young people and encourages them to smoke. Please refer any intelligence on illegal tobacco sales to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133"
To report a crime, you can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111