Illicit tobacco

Three stores in the Kidderminster area have been found with illicit tobacco for the second time in a month.

An investigation by Worcestershire Trading Standards, in partnership with Kidderminster Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) found a illicit tobacco concealed on the premises of the three stores.

In a statement issued to The Kidderminster Shuttle, Simon Wilkes, head of Regulatory Services at Worcestershire Trading Standards, said: “Following intelligence received, officers visited a shop in Kidderminster concerning the potential supply of counterfeit and non-duty paid tobacco products.

“A quantity of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco were found in a sophisticated hide. This visit follows on from other visits in recent weeks to shops in both Kidderminster and Worcester where significant quantities of product were seized. The investigation is ongoing with the view to taking formal action if appropriate.”

In March, officers from Kidderminster SNT conducted joint unannounced visits with Trading Standards, Immigration and H&W Fire Services (MATES: Multi Agency Targeted Enforcement Strategy) to the same stores.

Reporting on that incident, PC Matt Ling from Kidderminster SNT said: “We visited three supermarkets and stores within the Kidderminster town area, following reports of counterfeit and illicit tobacco being sold.

“A significant amount of counterfeit tobacco was seized by Trading Standards and following a search of a vehicle associated with one premises, we found and seized an extendable baton.

“Operations like this prove that working in close partnership with our partner agencies we are able to prevent criminal enterprises from continuing their distributing their products such as tobacco and alcohol.”