KCC illicit tobacco

Kent County Council Trading Standards team has seized almost 800 illicit vape products following a series of raids in stores in the Canterbury area.

In total, 755 illegal vapes were seized which were either over the legal size or were not otherwise legal for supply in the UK. Officers also took away 105 suspected unsafe electrical products and 5,148 fake goods with trademark infringement.

KCC Trading Standards Operations Manager Clive Phillips said: “These visits send a clear message that illicit products will be removed from the market to ensure we have a fair-trading environment in Kent. We understand, with a cost of living crisis, that people will be looking to save money but the products seized today were unsafe and likely to fund organised crime.

“Trading Standards use intelligence gathered from retail visits like these carried out today to identify points of supply into the UK, which for example last week led to over 16,000 illegal e-cigarettes devices being seized at the Port of Dover.”

PC Jim Gall, of Canterbury Community Safety Unit, added: “Illicit tobacco and vaping equipment which don’t meet UK standards are potentially dangerous to the public, and their sale has a detrimental impact on law-abiding businesses. The source of and profits made from counterfeit products is also a concern and, for those reasons, Kent Police will continue to work with partner agencies to monitor what is being sold in our town and city centres and take action to keep residents safe.”

In a separate visit carried out by Trading Standards in Canterbury, 1,560 illicit cigarettes and more than a kilo of hand rolling tobacco were seized as they were found to be either counterfeit or without the correct health warnings for the UK.

Lord Michael Bichard, Chair, National Trading Standards, said: “The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law. Having removed 21 million illegal cigarettes, 5,800kg of hand rolling tobacco and almost 175kg of shisha products from sale, the National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC continues to successfully disrupt this illicit trade.”