Thousands of illegal cigarettes taken off the streets in east London
In a planned operation by Barking and Dagenham Council’s Trading Standards team, officers raided several businesses in the borough and seized over 12,000 illicit cigarettes.
The team were participating in the first day of Operation CeCe, a London Wide Tobacco project funded by HMRC (in full). The initiative supports the council’s boroughwide Tobacco Control Strategy, which aims to disrupt the supply of underage and illegal tobacco.
During the operation, which took place last Friday (08/10/21), enforcement officers raided six local businesses following recent intelligence and test purchasing that showed that illegal tobacco was being sold. Of the six businesses visited, officers recovered Eastern European tobacco from three shops:
Premises A – 1,300 cigarettes
Premises B - 10,000 cigarettes
Premises C - 900 cigarettes
This equals to the street value of £5, 185.
All of the cigarettes seized were duty avoided, not in plain packaging and not labelled with the required labels including tar and nicotine content information and statutory health warnings.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety who joined in the operation, said: “Operations like these not only ensure that businesses in the borough are operating on the right side of the law, but also protect the health of our residents.
“The operation was a huge success with thousands of illegal cigarettes taken off our streets. I would like to thank all officers involved.”
The operation was supported by BWY Canine, who provided six specialist sniffer dogs to help locate the illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
The three guilty premises were cautioned and questioned during the raid and will now face further investigation.