An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco in Peterborough has recovered more than 145,000 illegal cigarettes and 24 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco.

Around 50 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with support from Peterborough Trading Standards, Wagtail UK and Cambridgeshire Police, visited around 30 stores suspected of selling or storing non UK duty paid tobacco last week.

Illicit tobacco was seized in 12 of the stores and seven retailers are due to attend Thorpe Wood Police Station for interviews later this month.

Peterborough Trading Standards officer Peter Stonely said: “Those involved in the distribution of illegal tobacco may be encouraging people, including children, to smoke by providing a cheap source of unregulated cigarettes.

“Offenders need to know they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products. We will continue to work in partnership to protect consumers and retailers.”