Intelligence led raids on convenience stores across Nottinghamshire netted a hoard of illicit tobacco products with an estimated street value of £20,000.
Six of the 10 stores raided by local Trading Standards officers, Customs officials and sniffer dogs were found to be selling counterfeit tobacco and smuggled ‘cheap whites’.
More than 6,440 counterfeit cigarettes were found in one store in Worksop, and a further 27,480 cigarettes and 18.05kg tobacco in three Ashfield shops.
“Unfortunately, unscrupulous shopkeepers are sometimes tempted to sell illegal tobacco products as a sideline business with little regard for the impact on their customers’ health, legitimate traders and reduced tax revenue for vital public services,” Sarah Houlton, Trading Standards manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said.
“We want to send out the message to other traders that we not tolerate the sale of counterfeit goods in the county.”
Criminal prosecutions are pending while further investigations into the nature of the seized goods are carried out.
An examination by brand holders has confirmed that some of the products seized are counterfeit.