A sting on stores suspected of selling illicit tobacco in North Wales has uncovered thousands of illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco.

The multi-agency operation visited 59 retail premises, with illicit products found in 11 sites. A number of self-storage units were also raided.

In total, more than 440,000 suspect cigarettes and 169 kilos of rolling tobacco were seized.

A further 2,700 litres of alcohol, also suspected of being illicit, was found and removed from circulation.

HMRC assistant director of fraud investigation, John Cooper, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.

“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5bn a year and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1.3bn per year. This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.”

In addition to the tobacco and alcohol seizures, quantities of amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, cannabis cookies and a Samurai were also seized.