This huge stash of cigarettes were confiscated by police on the streets of Newcastle
More than 16,000 illicit cigarettes were found when Newcastle City Council's trading standards team swooped on a store in Byker.
The stash of dodgy tabs were found hidden inside a laptop case and in the boot of a car parked outside the shop after a member of the public tipped off the council.
In all, 16,420 cigarettes were recovered with a street value of £5,000 and legal value of £10,000.
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The haul comes just a week after trading standards officers seized 5,000 cigarettes from two licensed premises in the city centre, bringing the total number of seized cigarettes over 20,000 in two weeks.
Nick Kemp, the council's spokesman for regulatory services, 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.
More than 16,000 illegal cigarettes were found by Newcastle City Council's trading standards team
“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.
Illegal tobacco also harms legitimate businesses
Nick Kemp, Newcastle council
“These cigarettes are now destined to go up in smoke – not in the usual way but on a fire.“ It is believed the cigarettes came into the UK from eastern Europe and the dealer is being investigated and could face prosecution, the trading standards team said.
Trading standards manager David Ellerington said that the trade in bootleg cigarettes is a multi-billion pound industry that spans the world.
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“Last week we seized cigarettes from China, these ones came in from eastern Europe,“ he said following the raid.
“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.
The seized cigarettes have a street value of £5,000 and a legal value of £10,000
“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 0191 2116121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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