Illegal fags found at Eastwood shop

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Almost 5,000 counterfeit cigerettes and 1.3kg of illegal tobacco was found at an Eastwood shop.

The discovery was made by Trading Standards officers who branded the shopkeeper ‘unscrupulous’.

The raid was one of ten carried out on shops across then county after Nottinghamshire Council’s Trading Standards team received tip offs from members of the public. Six were found to be selling illegal tobacco products and booze.

Although the shops have not been named, Trading Standards have revealed 6,440 cigarettes were found at a shop in Worksop, more than 27,000 cigarettes and 18kg of tobacco was found in three shops across Ashfield, and 200 cigarettes and 12 bottles of illegal booze was found at a shop in Mansfield.

The products are all either counterfeit or smuggled from abroad untaxed, however a county council spokesperson said in ‘most cases’ shops were flogging both.

Altogether, the products have a street value of £20,000.

Trading Standards manager Sarah Houlton said: “Unscrupulous shopkeepers are sometimes tempted to sell illegal tobacco products as a sideline business with little regard for the impact on their customers’ health, legitimate traders and reduced tax revenue for vital public services.

“These products often contain higher rates of toxic substances and do not have the correct health warnings.

“We will not tolerate it.”

An investigation is now underway and shopkeepers could face court action.

Jennie Kendall, spokesperson for HMRC, said: “We all pay extra to compensate for the money these criminals steal and with the economic challenges we are facing we must disrupt this illegal trade. It drains over £2 billion in revenue from public finances each year. The problem of excise fraud is a real one, which we are determined to crack.”

Sniffer dogs from Wagtail International Specialist Dog Services were used to finds the goods.

Anyone with information about people selling counterfeit cigarettes should call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.