Illegal and potentially dangerous tobacco, worth over £100,000, has been seized from retailers in Dewsbury following a joint operation by West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

On 23 October 2023, a joint team consisting of police officers, trading standard officers and a drug dog visited stores in Dewsbury.

Attending officers said they had been surprised by the lengths those involved had gone to in concealing their stash, with some hiding places being worthy of a James Bond style spy film.


Source: West Yorkshire Police and Wets Yorkshire Trading Standards

The gadgets used to hide the high value haul of goods has been labelled as ‘’ingenious’’.

They said in one case, a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.

Another gadget was sniffed out in a section of a hinged false wall hidden behind a bathroom mirror which slid up within the frame it was in.

In addition to the tobacco, several illegal disposable vapes were seized containing more than the legal maximum of 2ml of liquid, around 600 puffs.

The operation was the latest in a series of raids by police and trading standards and police in Kirklees to clamp down on illegal and counterfeit goods sales.

In August police and trading standards officers seized 12,000 cigarettes, four kg of hand rolling tobacco and 4,500 vapes with a retail value of £45,000 in an operation in Huddersfield.

Sergeant Stuart Clarke of the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT said that some of the methods used to store the illicit products had been quite ingenious. “Some of the premises had hidden the tobacco in specially designed hides, reminiscent of James Bond style gadgets,” he said. “In one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.

“We know that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime and through this operation, West Yorkshire Trading Standards and Police have dealt a substantial blow to the criminals benefitting from the supply of illegal and illicit tobacco in communities.

“Through working together we removed in excess of £100k worth of illegal and potentially dangerous tobacco products were removed from stores carrying illegal goods. Investigations will continue to identify supply routes and Police Licensing Officers will consider breaches of the premises licence.”

Officers from the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT and West Yorkshire Trading Standards are continuing to investigate.

Sergeant Clarke added: “Anyone with information about the supply of illicit tobacco is encouraged to contact Trading Standards Confidential reporting system at or via independent crime prevention charity Crime Stoppers on 0800555111”