A large quantity of illegal cigarettes and tobacco has been seized in Salford as part of a crackdown on untrustworthy goods.
More than 20,000 illegal cigarettes and five kilograms of illegal roll-your-own tobacco worth more than £13,000 were taken from six shops in Swinton and Eccles today (March 21). The operation was carried out by Salford City Council’s trading standards team, which was supported by a police officer and two diligent sniffer dogs named Ricco and Bessie.
£3,500 in cash was recovered along with the illegal items, which is now subject to the proceeds of crime investigation. The move was part of Operation Cece, a national initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illicit tobacco.
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Councilor David Lancaster, chief environmental and community safety officer, praised the public for sharing information that led to the raids.
“Selling illegal tobacco is not welcome in Salford and we will do everything we can to eradicate it,” he said. “The packages contain no health warnings and no taxes are paid, leaving our country without money for essential public services such as the NHS and social care.
“The people who make money from this don’t care who they sell to. Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, making them more likely to become addicted to smoking. The availability of illegal cigarettes makes it more difficult for people to quit and remain smoke-free.
“The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is committed to making smoking history for the health of future generations and is achieving it faster than any other major metropolitan region in the world. Illegal tobacco sales undermine this important work and unfairly impact law-abiding businesses. It will not be tolerated.”
The sale of illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or at https://keep-it-out.co.uk