£30,000 of illegal tobacco seized in Gloucester
Illegal tobacco with a street value of more than £30,000 has been seized by Gloucestershire County Council trading standards officers, with assistance from Gloucestershire Constabulary.
At the request of trading standards, police officers gained entry to the address in the Barton area of Gloucester where trading standards officers found a large quantity of illegal tobacco in a secret hatch beneath the floorboards after pulling back the carpet.
Trading standards officers had obtained a warrant from Magistrates after the property was identified in an investigation into the storage of illegal tobacco. The raid on the address followed a recent seizure of £1,000 worth of illegal tobacco from a nearby shop.
Further illegal tobacco was found in the kitchen, in an area under the stairs, and inside a fridge-freezer.
Trading standards officers seized 4,465 packs of cigarettes and 806 pouches of hand rolling tobacco from the property.
The haul was valued at over £30,000. No duty had been paid on the tobacco, evading over £55,000 in tax.
Trading standards suspect the cigarettes were part of an organised supply chain supporting sales of illegal tobacco, which costs the UK taxpayer around £2.3 billion a year
Last month, trading standards officers also seized more than £41,000 worth of illegal tobacco from a property in Southgate Street.
Cllr Dave Norman, Cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “Illegal tobacco harms the trade of legitimate suppliers and poses a risk to public health. Our trading standards team works hard to make sure these counterfeit products are kept off the street.
“I would also like to thank our Gloucestershire Constabulary colleagues for assisting us with this investigation.”
Insp Si Motala, from the Gloucester Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is not just a case of taking cheap tobacco off the streets. We know that illegal tobacco is often used to fund organised crime, which can have a significant impact on our communities.
“I hope this warrant shows that we will work with our partners, including trading standards, to disrupt those who are involved in this line of criminality.”