More than 50 bottles of non-UK duty paid whisky and vodka and 12 kgs of shisha tobacco have been seized from London stores following a blitz by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Lambeth borough council.

The illicit goods which also included snuff and chewing tobacco were discovered in Lambeth, Streatham, and Clapham Common Southside, London.

Peter Millroy, assistant director criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “This illegal trade has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers who have to compete with black market traders. It’s robbing the UK economy of vital funding and those selling these goods do not promote they are buying them from criminals - the profits of which are funding organised crime to the detriment of all our communities.

“We appeal to local people and businesses to join us in the fight against crime and encourage anyone with information on illegally imported goods, or tax evasion and fraud, to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

The operation was part of an ongoing initiative to reduce crime in six London borough councils – Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.

No arrests have currently been made. Investigations are ongoing.