Swoop on car reveals illegal tobacco
A car heading into Gloucester city centre last Thursday 3rd November was stopped and found to contain illegal tobacco.
The vehicle was thought to be used to deliver illegal tobacco from the West Midlands to then be sold from a shop in the city centre.
When officers from Gloucestershire Trading Standards Service stopped the car, with the help of the police, they found 590 packets of 20 cigarettes and 310 pouches of 50g hand rolling tobacco.
Two hundred packets of the cigarettes are believed to be counterfeited copies of Mayfair and Richmond branded cigarettes.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs were called to the scene and using their powers, the car was seized. The driver of the vehicle was arrested.
Following the seizure, trading standards officers visited the suspected shop with the police. At the premises they witnessed shop workers in the process of selling illegal tobacco to customers, and intervened.
The flat above the shop was searched and a further 466 packets of 20 cigarettes and 138 pouches of 50g hand rolling tobacco were found. One hundred and forty packets of the cigarettes are believed to be counterfeited copies of Mayfair and Richmond branded cigarettes.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for trading standards said, "Illegal tobacco typically sells for between £3 and £5 per packet for 20 cigarettes and £10 for 50g of hand rolling tobacco. This is roughly half the legal price.
"The tobacco is smuggled into the country and no duty has been paid.
"Our trading standards service continues to investigate offences like this and bring offenders before the courts."
The tobacco seized from the car would sell for approximately £5000. The tobacco seized from the flat would sell for approximately £3000.
The car seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is worth approximately £1500.
New laws brought into force in May 2016 means that tobacco will need to carry new health warnings and be in plain packaging by May 2017.