26 September 2017
An ongoing operation to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco in Sheffield has resulted in the confiscation of nearly 14 thousand cigarettes and 3.75kg of rolling tobacco.
Officers from Trading Standards, South Yorkshire Police and assisted by tobacco detection dogs, visited several shops across the city.
In Darnall officers found cigarette packets hidden in a purpose built shelving unit on a shop floor.
A further shop in Firth Park concealed a large stock of illicit cigarettes underneath the sales counter.
All the tobacco and cigarettes carried health warnings in a foreign language, an obvious sign of illegality, or were counterfeit brands.
Investigations have now begun and those involved will be interviewed and could face prosecution.
Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “The illegal tobacco trade brings crime into our communities as it is often part of organised criminal activity and is linked to a range of other illegal trades including drug smuggling, exploitation and money laundering.
“We will not tolerate this in our communities.
“Trading Standards are doing an excellent job in ensuring we stamp out the availability of illegal tobacco in Sheffield. However, we’re not stopping here and will continue to be relentless in our approach.”
Illegal cigarettes are cheaper to buy; they cost £4.50 per pack on average and are often sold in singles. Officials warns that this makes it easier for children to buy cigarettes for pocket money prices.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “Each week in Sheffield there are 16 smoking related deaths and five children start smoking every day. Illicit tobacco is typically smoked by people on low income.
“Smoking is the single biggest cause of illness and death in the city and a major contributor to the differences in health outcomes between our richest and poorest communities. This is why we must take action.
“The council is committed to supporting people out of tobacco addiction and a key part of our Tobacco Control Strategy is tackling the illicit market.”
The sale of illegal or counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes can be reported to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/