Derby City Council’s Trading Standards team and HMRC have been out in force with Derbyshire Constabulary, with assistance from tobacco search dogs, for a one-day joint operation, to find illicit tobacco products across the city.

The multi-agency search found and seized 6,620 cigarettes – 331 packets of 20 cigarettes – and 8.75kg of hand rolling tobacco from shops around Derby.

The search for counterfeit and illicit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco is really important as the products can be harmful to consumers, especially as the packaging doesn’t provide adequate health warnings. In many cases the cigarettes can also pose a fire risk as they will not put themselves out if left unattended. Counterfeit and smuggled goods also evade VAT, which is applied to tobacco products. In this case approximately £4,900 worth of VAT lost due to counterfeit products.

Councillor Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Communities, Neighbourhoods and Streetpride, said:

Our Trading Standards team is playing its part in tackling this trade which has a complex profile and links to organised crime. We will continue to clamp down on the illegal sales of such goods and ensure the people in Derby are safe from traders who break the law.

Illicit tobacco products are usually easy to spot as they often not labelled in English or in plain packaging.

If you would like to report the suspect sale of illicit cigarettes or tobacco confidentially, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.