£2.4m fake tobacco products seized in Notts in last year
Over £2.4m worth of illicit tobacco products were seized across Nottinghamshire by the County Council’s Trading Standards officers in 2017/18 – an eight-fold increase on the previous year.
A total of 45 seizures took place over this period – which covers April 2017 to the end of March 2018 – which amounted to 124,000 cigarettes and 120,000 tobacco pouches of hand rolling tobacco weighing over six tonnes.
The increase in value of the tobacco products seized comes mainly from the larger number of tobacco pouches found, which amounted to 4,000 pouches the previous year.
A large amount of the hand rolling tobacco was seized from two illegal manufacturing plants uncovered in the county.
During this period 44 prosecutions took place which resulted in prison sentences totalling 12.5 years, 1,165 hours in community service orders and £920 in fines.
The Council has a team of Trading Standards officers, financial investigators and a Nottinghamshire police officer focussed on tackling the crime.
It carried out raids on shops, homes, vehicles and storage facilities belonging to traders and individuals selling illicit tobacco products across the county.
Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of the County Council’s Communities and Place Committee, said: “Whilst the number of illicit cigarettes we’ve seized has been consistent in recent years, we’ve had great success in finding two manufacturing plants in the county which has prevented huge quantities of illicit products coming on to the market.
“Improving intelligence and widening our search to suppliers along with shops is also proving very fruitful.
“Whether illicit tobacco products are in the form of cigarette packs or hand rolling tobacco they conflict with the Government’s national pricing strategy to discourage people from smoking and fail to comply with health warning regulations on packaging.”
Genuine cigarettes are designed to extinguish if left unattended – counterfeit cigarettes do not have the safety feature which allows them to continue to burn causing a fire risk. It is estimated that smoking related fires in the county cost £2.86m each year.
For free support to quit smoking contact a stop smoking advisor on 0800 2465343, 0115 7722515 or text QUIT to 66777. For the locations of clinics visit www.smokefreelifenottinghamshire.co.uk
To anonymously report concerns about the sale of illicit tobacco products contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.