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A haul of illicit cigarettes, tobacco and vapes worth £200k in Grimsby and Cleethorpes have been seized by North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards.

Four premises were visited last week as part of Operation CeCe, a national campaign involving Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs.

The teams of officers inspected two shops and one empty unit on Freeman Street in Grimsby, and two further shops on Grimsby Road in Cleethorpes.

The authorities found over 1,000 pouches of tobacco along with over 200,000 illicit cigarettes.

Among the seized goods were also several bags of illegal vapes foudn to be ten times the legal limit.


At one premises which was supposed to be unoccupied, officers discovered a ‘treasure trove’ of illicit cigarettes and tobacco.

Officers from North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team were accompanied by Humberside Police Community and Response Teams, Home Office Immigration and Humberside Police Child Sexual Exploitation Officers.

Councillor Ron Shepherd portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at North East Lincolnshire Council said: “This is a real coup for the team and I’m really pleased with the results.

“I know that naysayers out there will ask why we’re seizing cigarettes and tobacco. The reality is that these cigarettes often do not confirm to UK laws, meaning that they do not self-extinguish if left unattended increasing the risk of house fires. In addition to this, purchases of these products support organised crime.

“These products are also smuggled into the UK without paying tax. That tax should be going towards services like the NHS, but instead criminals are profiting from selling dangerous cheap cigarettes to local residents – occasionally to children too.

“Our team rely on intelligence from local residents, so if you have any information about the sale of illicit cigarettes, vapes and tobacco in North East Lincolnshire, please get in touch with Trading Standards.

“I’m pleased that our team have seized this haul and I look forward to seeing the culprits pay.”

Inspector Matt Stringer Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for Grimsby East said: “My team and I remain committed to making our communities safer, and by working with partner agencies, as part of operations like this, it means we are able to do this and remove criminality from our area.”

Officers will now build a case for prosecution using the evidence that they’ve collected from each premises.

If you have information relating to the sale of illicit cigarettes and tobacco in North East Lincolnshire, you can contact Trading Standards or report it here.