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Safer 6 raids lead to illicit tobacco seizures

Published 29th November 2018

Councillor Elaine Costigan and Mark Beesley from trading standards with seized items

Illicit tobacco and cigarettes with a street value of more than £40,000 were seized from shops in Sandwell during raids carried out by trading standards and police.

Officers, supported by sniffer dogs from BWY Canine, checked six shops in the Bearwood, Blackheath and West Bromwich areas as part of Sandwell's Safer 6 campaign.

They found illicit tobacco in five of the six shops – a mixture of counterfeit and non-duty paid items.

Trading standards manager Bob Charnley said: "Some shops went to great lengths to hide the tobacco but the sniffer dogs found it."

A total of 632 pouches of hand-rolling tobacco and 2,887 packets of cigarettes were seized with a street value of £43,170, with a loss of duty to the Government of £27,133.98.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for public health and protection, said: "I welcome these raids by trading standards and police, cracking down on unscrupulous traders who are undermining the hard work of law-abiding businesses by selling illicit goods.

"People may think they're getting a bargain when actually they could be putting their health at risk as they've no idea what's in these illicit goods."

The raids were carried out on 12 and 13 October and investigations are ongoing.