A taskforce to combat the problem of counterfeit cigarettes being sold in Eastwood, Kimberley and the rest of Nottinghamshire has been set up by the county council.
The authority is investing £91,000 of its public health funding to fund two trading standards officers and fund investigations to focus on reducing the supply and use of illegal tobacco locally.
Officers will work with the council’s public health officers, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and other agencies to crack down on sellers of illegal tobacco and encourage local residents to avoid smoking counterfeit products.
The team’s first operations involved raiding nine shops across the county and two houses and around 90,000 illegal cigarettes and 20kg of illegal tobacco with an estimated street value of £40,000 were discovered.
The haul is currently being investigated but is believed to be a mixture of counterfeit and untaxed items.
Cllr Glynn Gilfoyle, chairman of Notts County Council’s community safety committee, said: “Tackling the sale of illegal tobacco has been priority for the council.”
Anyone with information on illegal tobacco sales should call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.