Hidden stash under the stairs
Trading Standards officers and Police seize illegal tobacco and cash from shop in Gloucester.
On 7th January, Trading Standards Officers and Gloucestershire Police seized illegal tobacco worth more than £2,300 and cash to the value of £10,000 during an inspection of a shop in the Barton Street area of Gloucester.
The officers entered the shop as a sale of the tobacco was taking place, and went on to discover the illegal tobacco and cash in a rear stairwell.
The cash had been hidden in rolled bundles of £10 and £20 notes in a sports holdall. A Trading Standards Financial Investigator seized the cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, with the suspicion that the money had came from the selling of illegal tobacco.
Councillor Dave Norman, the cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “Illegal tobacco sales are an ongoing issue that faces Gloucestershire Trading Standards Service. The shops are stocked with items that hold a long shelf life; for the most part toilet roll, tinned goods and energy drinks which gives the subterfuge of a legitimate retail outlet. In truth, customers of these premises visit for one purpose, to buy illegal tobacco.
“These ‘shops’ pay no business rates as they receive 100% business rate relief due to their size, and are very often not registered for tax purposes. This practice takes business from legitimate traders and also takes money from the public purse, which funds the vital services we all rely on.
“Officers of the Trading Standards Service continue to tackle these issues and I would ask those that visit these ‘shops’ to question whether they want their money to fund this type of criminal enterprise.”
If you have information about the sale of illegal tobacco, however small, please call Trading Standards on 03454 040506, email email@example.com, or contact them anonymously via their website at https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/trading-standards/report