A warning over has been issued after counterfeit tobacco was discovered in a raids on a Hull shop.
Hull City Council’s Trading Standards Team, working with colleagues in Humberside Police, seized the illegal goods after they were discovered hidden beneath a floor.
The illicit goods were concealed in a hydraulically operated hidden compartment under a concrete floor in the shop’s toilet. There were 12,520 cigarettes and 207 packets of tobacco.
A tobacco detection dog led officers to the hiding place after picking up the scent of the illegal stash.
They were found during a day of visits to a number of premises. In total, 87,620 cigarettes and 207 packets of tobacco were recovered, with a retail value of around £60,000.
Chris Wilson, Trading Standards Officer at Hull City Council, said: “Work like this is vital and has continued throughout the pandemic, with additional safety measures wherever necessary.
“As we’ve seen with previous seizures like this, no matter how clever the hiding place, it can and will be found. Working with detection dogs, our team have seen it all and won’t be thrown by goods being hidden within a floor, behind a fake shelf or inside a light.
“Anyone who sees or hears about illicit tobacco in our communities can and should report it safely and anonymously”.
Cllr Gwen Lunn, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, said: “Illicit tobacco is not simply cheap cigarettes. It funds organised crime, affects our legitimate local traders by depriving them of revenue and it makes smoking more accessible to children.
“The cigarettes may also not have the features legitimate products do which cause them to extinguish when discarded to reduce fire risk.
“Illicit tobacco simply has no place in our local shops or communities and I urge anyone with information to come forward. You can do this without giving your name, or any other personal details. Our teams and their colleagues in the police have continued to make this work a priority throughout the pandemic and they certainly won’t let up as the city continues to open up again”.
Report information on illicit tobacco now, anonymously at keep-it-out.co.uk.