illicit tobacco sale

A Middlesbrough retailer has been issued with a Closure Order following the seizure of 15,750 illicit cigarettes and 2.1kg of illicit hand-rolling tobacco.

The store, located in North Ormesby, was the subject of an investigation involving Trading Standards, the council’s Neighbourhood Safety Officers and Cleveland Police, leading to a visit to the site and two linked residential addresses in January 2023 when the illicit produce was found.

An application to Teesside Magistrates Court on 17 March by Middlesbrough Council resulted in closure orders issued for the retail premise and the residential flat above which was being used to store the illicit tobacco.

During the application for closure orders, the magistrates heard that multiple complaints had been made to the council about sales of illicit tobacco and that the operators of the shop - Dyary Kadir and Emma Wilkinson - had been known to the council for selling illicit tobacco at their previous shop based in North Ormesby, which had also been subject to a Closure Order.

Judith Hedgley, head of public protection at Middlesbrough Council, said: “We are focused on tackling illicit tobacco as part of a national trading standards initiative called Operation Cece, which is playing a significant role in disrupting the trade and helping to take illegal tobacco off the streets.

“Investigations into the sale of illicit tobacco are ongoing and the Closure Orders now mean that the properties involved will have to remain closed for at least three months to prevent them being used for criminal activity and to stop public nuisance.”

If retailers know of a store that is selling illicit tobacco or vapes, they can report them to Trading Standards through the Citizen Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.