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Thousands of illegal cigarettes seized in joint operation

Good morning

On Thursday 12th May 2022 Wallsend Neighbourhood Police Team undertook a joint operation with North Tyneside Council Trading Standards Team to tackle the sale of illegal tobacco. 

Trading Standards are now conducting an investigation after 8,440 cigarette packets and over 5kg of rolling tobacco worth an estimated £6,500 were seized from shops in Howdon and Wallsend. The seizures were made from four stores and were a mixture of counterfeit products or products that had no duty paid. 

Operation CeCe is a joint National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle the sale of illegal tobacco. 

Previous action taken against those selling illegal tobacco has resulted in a landlord terminating the trader’s lease; and a licence review resulting in a business not being able to sell alcohol.

Cllr Carole Burdis, cabinet member for Community Safety and Public Protection, said: “We’re committed to taking action against the sale of illegal tobacco - it disadvantages genuine businesses and creates a cheap source of tobacco that can support smoking, particularly in the young.

“Through our close partnership with Northumbria Police, we’re cracking down on the supply of illicit tobacco in the borough and the criminality surrounding it.”

Chief Inspector of Northumbria Police’s Northern Communities Team, Colin Lowther, said: “As a Force, we are committed to working with our partners and taking action against the sale of illegal tobacco products. We will continue to pursue those involved in illegal activities, as well as protecting the public from the sale of illegal unregulated products.”

If you know where illegal tobacco is being sold, please called the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report it online here.

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Gordon Avery
(Police, Police Constable, Wallsend)

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