Thousands of 'illegal cigarettes' seized in Barking and Dagenham raids

Two men, a woman and a dog holding bags of cigarettes in front of a van.

Barking and Dagenham Cllr Margaret Mullane and trading standards officers with seized cigarettes. - Credit: LBBD

More than 12,000 "illegal cigarettes" have been seized during raids in Barking and Dagenham.

The council’s trading standards team raided six premises on October 8 after receiving intelligence that illegal tobacco was being sold.

They said they seized Eastern European tobacco from three shops - 10,000, 1,300 and 900 cigarettes respectively - with a total street value of £5,185.

Packs of cigarettes on the floor of a shop

Cigarettes allegedly found in one of the shops. - Credit: LBBD

The cigarettes were allegedly duty avoided, not in plain packaging and not labelled with the required information and health warnings.

The council says the three shops were cautioned, questioned and face further investigation, so cannot be named.

Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, 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.”

A sniffer dog next to a box filled with packs of cigarettes and tobacco.

Sniffer dogs assisted the raids. - Credit: LBBD

The operation was part of the Operation CeCe illegal tobacco initiative funded by HMRC and involved specialist sniffer dogs provided by BWY Canine.

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