Biggest ever seizure in Newcastle

£50,000 worth of illegal tobacco has been confiscated in Newcastle.

The haul was removed from three shops and two houses in Benwell and Walker by Newcastle Trading Standards Team and a sniffer dog.

It’s believed to be the biggest tobacco seizure ever in Newcastle.

Cabinet Member for Regulation, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “This is the biggest every seizure of illegal tobacco ever in the city, and I would like to congratulate Trading Standards.

“I dread to think what harm these cigarettes could have caused to public health if they were allowed to flood our streets. Most of it was foreign brands with no warnings in English.

“People may think it’s a victimless crime, but it is sold to children and damages legitimate businesses.

“We will continue these raids until shopkeepers get the message that selling this kind of stuff will cost them dearly in the long run and threaten their businesses and their livelihoods.”

When trading standards officers entered the shop they found most of the 20,000 cigarettes hidden inside cornflake and soap powder boxes, quickly rooted out by the sniffer dog.

Acting on information, the team then visited two houses where they found a further 80,000 illegal cigarettes in an enterprise that linked all three premises.

In all 98,240 illegal cigarettes and 23kgs of hand rolling tobacco were taken away and now face being pulped.

Operation Beagle 7 was a joint exercise involving Newcastle City Council, Northumbria Police, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Immigration.

Trading Standards Manager, David Ellerington, said: “I’d like to thank the public for the information they provide. In many of these cases we could not find and make the seizures without help from the public.”

If you suspect a shop may be selling illegal tobacco, you can report it to Trading Standards on 0191 2116121.