A Salford business owner’s secret illegal tobacco stash has been flushed out in a raid.
One hundred and forty-five packets of cigarettes and seven 50g packets of rolling tobacco were found hidden in a specially built cupboard inside the shop’s toilet. The door had been tiled over to blend in with the wall but was unable to fool sniffer dog Ricco who made straight for the stash.
Council officers prised open the well concealed door- which was opened by a door bell button hidden under the stairs and found the items.
Salford City Council trading standards officers, Ricco and his handler visited nine businesses across the city earlier this week, acting on information received about the illegal sale of tobacco products.
They seized 349 packets of illegal cigarettes and 542 50gramme pouches of rolling tobacco, the majority of which were counterfeit, worth just under £10,000 from five businesses. They also seized over £1,460 from a business under the Proceeds of Crime Act. All five businesses are now under further investigation.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, praised the team’s actions.
“Cracking down on illegal tobacco is part of our support for Greater Manchester’s strategy to reduce smoking by a third by the end of 2021,” he said.
“That would mean 115,000 fewer smokers with a massive positive impact on people’s health, let alone saving thousands of pounds a year going up in smoke.”
Anyone who suspects illegal alcohol or cigarettes are being sold can report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to the Keep it Out website.