More than £1 million worth of fake tobacco products, including 75,000 counterfeit cigarettes have been seized in Nottinghamshire this year.
Trading Standards officers from Nottinghamshire County Council have completed a total of 81 inspections of shops, homes, vehicles and storage facilities have taken place during this period, which had resulted in the seizure of around 75,000 counterfeit cigarettes and over 60,000 illicit tobacco pouches.
An illegal manufacturing plant was also targeted where large amounts of tobacco leaf for production was discovered.
The council’s illicit tobacco team is made up of Trading Standards officers, financial investigators, a Nottinghamshire police officer and public health specialists.
Recent inspections with sniffers dogs in a Stapleford shop unearthed 3,400 cigarettes and 2.9kg of hand rolling tobacco.
The council has had 10 successful prosecutions since January, which has resulted in a 12-week suspended sentence, 610 hours of unpaid community work, one rehabilitation order and £520 in fines.
Councillor John Handley, Vice-Chairman of the Council’s Communities and Place Committee, said: “Tackling the storage and sale of counterfeit tobacco products continues to be a big priority for the County Council and we are making great strides in seizing large numbers of illicit products and prosecuting perpetrators.
“This is vital as illicit tobacco products don’t encourage smokers to give up the habit due to their low cost, which goes against the Government’s pricing policy aimed at reducing smoking levels.”
Genuine cigarettes are designed to extinguish if left unattended – counterfeit cigarettes do not have the safety feature which allows them to continue to burn causing a fire risk. It is estimated that smoking related fires in the county cost £2.86m each year.
For free support to quit smoking contact a stop smoking adviser on 0800 2465343 or text QUIT to 66777. For the locations of clinics visit www.smokefreelifenottinghamshire.co.uk
To anonymously report concerns about the sale of illicit tobacco products contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.