City of Wolverhampton Council has seized an A Class Mercedes after discovering it was being used to store counterfeit tobacco by a Wolverhampton shop owner.

Type=image;ImageID=16799;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Trading Standards carry out Operation Icarus;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=16800;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Operation Icarus;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=16801;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Operation Icarus;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=16802;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Specialised search dog Yoyo;TitleClass=strong;

The city council's Trading Standards team carried out 'operation icarus' on Friday 16 November after receiving reports of illegal sales of counterfeit and foreign cigarettes at The Romanian Shop, based at Merridale Street West in Wolverhampton.

Along with West Midlands Police, and specialist BWY Canine search dogs, the team inspected the entire property to search for hidden tobacco.

The team walked out the premises almost empty handed until specialised search dog Yoyo, had taken a liking to the business owner's illegally parked A Class Mercedes outside the store.

A shocking £15,000 worth of fake and genuine cigarettes - which have avoided UK duty were found in the boot of the £22,000 vehicle.

Along with the Mercedes, over 25,000 counterfeit cigarette packets were seized by Wolverhampton Trading Standards and taken for further examination.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council said:"This is part of our ongoing operation to tackle the sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco.

"Selling and supplying counterfeit tobacco is a serious crime that not only robs the public purse of much needed revenue, but also poses a real threat to public health.

"This is a perfect example of the hard work that is being undertaken by our trading standards team and the fantastic work we do with sniffer dogs who play a vital role in our success."

Council officers also alerted its inhouse Environmental Health team of cockroaches discovered on the premises. The team inspected the property the following morning and formally closed the store and is currently awaiting a court date.

  • released: Tuesday 20 November, 2018