Chilling discovery: illegal tobacco concealed in fridge
Tobacco with an estimated street value of over £1000 was seized by trading standards this week (20th December). The illegal goods had been concealed inside a secret remote control-operated compartment at a shop in Gloucester.
An officer from the county council's trading standards team made the discovery whilst serving papers for a previous incident, where £1800 was seized from the same premises on Friday 16th December. The cash is currently being held under the Proceeds of Crime Act pending further investigation.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said: "The sale of illegal tobacco undermines legitimate businesses in Gloucestershire and funds criminal activity. This latest example demonstrates the degree of sophistication involved in illegal tobacco sales and suggests a highly skilled operation.
"Trading standards officers are highly skilled in identifying unscrupulous vendors. It is to their credit that we are able identify and prosecute those who flout the law."
Cllr Andrew Gravells, cabinet member for public health, said: "Illegal tobacco is often produced without being subject to quality control. Aside from the usual health concerns associated with smoking; ingredients such as rat droppings, tea and dangerous heavy metals have all been found in counterfeit tobacco seized in the UK.
"It is crucial that those who choose to endanger public health in this way are brought to justice."