Cash and £10,000 worth of suspect tobacco seized from Telford shops

Around £10,000 worth of suspected illegal tobacco has been seized during raids at shops across Telford.

Officers from Telford & Wrekin Council with one of West Mercia Police’s search dogs and its handler
Officers from Telford & Wrekin Council with one of West Mercia Police’s search dogs and its handler

Specially-trained search dogs joined council officers and police on the operation which targeted six shops across the Telford and Wrekin borough.

The shops were raided on Wednesday after reports of counterfeit and illicit tobacco being sold.

Several thousand pounds in cash was seized along with the tobacco.

Sergeant Dougal Bell, from West Mercia Police, said: “We visited six shops in Telford and illicit or counterfeit tobacco was found and seized at three of these premises.

"We also seized several thousand pounds in cash from the premises, which is suspected to be from the sale of the counterfeit tobacco. We have now launched an investigation.

“Operations like this prove that, working closely with our partners, we are able to prevent criminal enterprises continuing their distribution of illegal products such as tobacco and alcohol.”

Councillor Richard Overton, cabinet member for enforcement, community safety and customer services at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “We are pleased with the success of this exercise that builds on previous success from a similar exercise undertaken earlier this year. While the full value is being assessed, we estimate the illegal tobacco seized to be in the region of £10,000.

“The areas raided were based on intelligence gathered by our trading standards team and West Mercia Police and took place at six locations across the borough.

“We know that the availability of cheap, illegal tobacco undermines action to reduce smoking rates and enables young people to start smoking. We are also aware that the trade in illegal tobacco, which is often counterfeit, is used by organised crime groups to raise funds for their criminal activity.

“We will continue to carry out exercises such as this to protect, care and invest in the borough and show that we are always on the side of legitimate businesses.”

If you have information you can report this to Trading Standards via the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online or by calling 0800 555 111.

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