Eastern European cigarettes seized

Cigarettes seized
Cigarettes seized

More than 16,000 illicit cigarettes have been seized from a shop in Newcastle.

Newcastle City Council’s Trading Standards Team swooped on the general dealer’s in Byker after receiving a tip-off from a member of the public.

Illegal cigarettes being sold to the public were found hidden inside of a laptop case and in the boot of a car parked outside of the premises.

In all, 16,420 cigarettes were recovered with a street value of £5,000 and legal value of £10,000.

It’s believed they came into the country from Eastern Europe.

Trading Standards are investigating and the dealer could be prosecuted.

Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “Here we have another large seizure – the second in as many weeks.

“All tobacco is harmful and should be avoided, but illegal tobacco also harms legitimate businesses.

“I’d like to thank the vigilant person who contacted us to tell us about their suspicions. The shop owner clearly went to a lot of bother to hide the tobacco but our officers know all of the places to look.

“These cigarettes are now destined to go up in smoke – not in the usual way but on a fire.”

Trading Standards Manager David Ellerington said: “Bootleg cigarettes is a multi-billion pound industry that spans the world. Last week we seized cigarettes from China, these ones came in from Eastern Europe.

“They all harm the smoker, defraud the Exchequer and harm legitimate businesses. We won’t stop doing these visits until people get the message that crime doesn’t pay. They may think they are getting away with it but we will catch them out in the end.”

Anyone with information about dodgy tobacco should contact Trading Standards on 2116121 or email tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk.