Reading Raids Net 36,000 Illegal Cigarettes
TRADING Standards, working with sniffer dogs and supported by Thames Valley Police PCSOs, have seized more than 36,000 illegal and counterfeit cigarettes in raids last week in Reading.
Oxford Road, Reading Raids
The illegal products were seized during inspection visits to shops along the Oxford Road in Reading on the morning of Thursday, 24th June. The visits took place under Operation CeCe, which is a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco.
YoYo and Cooper, handled by Stuart Phillips of BWY Canine, successfully sniffed out the cigarettes, despite failed attempts by some shops to put the dogs off the scent, including using electro magnets, hydraulic lifts and spices.
Illegal tobacco products are cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco that have been smuggled, bootlegged or are counterfeit. Far from being a victimless crime, the illegal tobacco trade makes it easier for children to start smoking, takes advantage of cash-strapped families, and helps fund organised crime.
Ruth McEwan, the Council’s Lead Councillor for Regulatory Services, which includes Trading Standards, said:
“The detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes hidden in the most unlikely places. Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products. Hopefully, it will also make traders think twice about stocking these products.
“Those involved in dealing in illegal tobacco may be encouraging people, including children, to smoke by providing a cheap source of cigarettes and tobacco.” To report sources of illegal tobacco, contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999 (information can be left anonymously).