A massive haul of illicit tobacco seized by Derby City Council’s Trading Standards team is being recycled by a charity as mulch for the garden.

Trading Standards officers have handed over the illicit and no duty paid tobacco to a charity organisation called Sportstraider which uses hi-tech machinery to break down the tobacco before putting it back into the earth.

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection said:

The sale and supply of illegal tobacco is a very serious concern as it is currently damaging our City’s economy and its communities. A significant amount of illegal tobacco has been found through the strong work of officers and I’m pleased the products can now benefit the environment.”

More than 600,000 cigarettes and tobacco has been recovered as a result of raids. The street value of which is estimated to be over £150,000.

Fakir Mohamed Osman, Trading Standards Team Leader added:

Illicit tobacco is a real problem in Derby that badly affects people’s health and impacts on the local economy. Our Trading Standards team is playing its part in tackling this trade which has a complex profile and links to organised crime.”

Carol Haynes, Operations Director, Sportstraider, said:

On behalf of Sportstraider we would like to say a huge thank you to Derby City Council Trading Standards team, for the donation and supporting our charity with recycling waste in a friendly environmental way, the support is greatly appreciated. It is a pleasure working with you all and we look forward to working with you in the future.”

The public can also help in the fight against the sale of illicit tobacco.  To report any incidents please call the Citizens Advice helpline on 0345 404 0506 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.