Seized cigarettes

Thousands of illicit tobacco and vapes seized in planned operations

The selling of illicit tobacco and vapes is dangerous and last week, during a planned operation codenamed Operation CeCe, Trading Standards Officers from Barking and Dagenham Council took thousands of these illegal products off the streets.

Operation CeCe took place on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 September and over the two days, 18 premises were visited, of which five were found to have illegal cigarettes or vapes.

In total, 10,580 illegal cigarettes and 144 vapes (street value of over £6,000) were seized with some found in an electrical intake cupboard, food barrels, coat pockets and shopping bags.

Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “The health and safety of our residents is a priority and that is why we take a strong action with businesses selling illegal products.

“Illicit tobacco and vapes often contain ingredients which are prohibited by UK regulations for a reason. We will continue to do as much as we can to crack down on this.”

Despite five businesses failing (28%), this is a huge improvement in the borough from last year where officers were seeing a 62% failure rate.

If residents are aware of any businesses selling illegal products, they can report them to the council by emailing