Over 20,000 illegal cigarettes and five kilos of illicit hand rolling tobacco worth an estimated £13,000, have been seized in Salford.
Officers from Salford City Council’s trading standards team visited six businesses in Swinton and Eccles, supported by a police officer, a dog handler and sniffer dogs Ricco and Bessie and recovered the illegal items along with £3,500 in cash which is now subject to proceeds of crime investigation. Further investigations are continuing.
The move was part of Operation Cece, a national initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, praised members of the public for sharing information which led to the raids.
“Selling illegal tobacco is not welcome in Salford and we will do all we can to stamp it out,” he said.
“The packets carry no health warnings and taxes are not paid on it, which deprives our country of funds for vital public services such as the NHS and social care.
“The people making money out of this do not care who they sell to. Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, making it easier for them to get hooked on smoking. The availability of illegal cigarettes makes it harder for people to quit and remain smoke free.
“The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is committed to making smoking history for the health of future generations and is succeeding in this at a faster rate than any other major city region in the world. Illegal sales of tobacco undermine this important work and unfairly impacts on law abiding businesses It will not be tolerated.”
The sale of illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or on the Keep it Out website.