Search site

30,000 counterfeit cigarettes seized in Trading Standards Blitz

More than 30,000 dangerous fake and non duty paid cigarettes have been seized in Wolverhampton following a crackdown by Trading Standards.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council’s cabinet member for city services, with the haul of counterfeit and duty-free cigarettes
The haul of counterfeit and duty-free cigarettes

Operation Henry saw officers from Wolverhampton City Council use sniffer dogs to target illicit tobacco hot spots in the city.

The operation took place over the past few months and resulted in the seizure of 30532 cigarettes and 5.450 kg of tobacco that were counterfeit or duty free.

The operation, which was being held across the country, was co-ordinated  by Trading Standards Institute (TSI) who works with local trading standards teams to combine intelligence and target areas.

Specially trained detector dogs were provided by Wagtail UK Specialist Dog Services funded by the Department of Health, and B.W.Y Canine Specialist Search Dogs funded by Central England Trading Standards Authorities

The specially trained search dogs, Buster and Bertie were provided by Wagtail UK Specialist Dog Services,  funded by  the Department of Health,  and, Scampi and Phoebe provided by B.W.Y Canine Specialist Search Dogs, funded by  Central England Trading Standards Authorities, (CEnTSA). 

The dogs have been trained to target the scent of tobacco products and were able to direct officers to hidden stashes in more unusual places such as underneath a counter shelving unit which revealed a concealed area secured by a powerful electro magnet.

Action is set to be taken against the owners of premises where the material was seized while further investigations will be carried out to identify their suppliers.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council's cabinet member for city services, said: "Crackdowns such as this one are about protecting the public and legitimate businesses and the quantity seized highlights the value of these operations.

"Counterfeit cigarettes pose even greater health risks than legitimate ones as they often contain far more carbon monoxide and nicotine.

"Having dangerous, illegal tobacco easily available also undermines the work being carried out by the city's public health teams in helping residents, particularly young people, quit smoking and lead healthier lives.

"It is also worth remembering that the sale of such items robs the public purse of money that could fund essential services.

"Using the sniffer dogs proved to be extremely worthwhile as they enhanced the operation and helped officers seize material that otherwise might not have been detected.

"We are determined to clamp down on illegal operations such as this and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone involved in these practices."

Leon Livermore, chief executive of TSI, said "This partnership is one more example of how trading standards works with the private and public sector to protect consumers, and support legal business practices. 

"Through this partnership, trading standards has a unique opportunity to share information and develop intelligence with the aim of taking illicit tobacco off the streets."

  • released: Friday 17 October, 2014