£10,000 fake cigarette raids welcomed by officials

Raids at convenience shops that uncovered £10,000 of fake cigarettes have been welcomed by a council.

Cooper helped sniff out illegal tobacco stored in a wall
Cooper helped sniff out illegal tobacco stored in a wall

The raids, led by Telford & Wrekin Council across the borough, also turned up illegal vapes and 40 one-litre bottles of unlabelled homemade wine.

The council said the raids took place at five locations earlier this month, and were supported by West Mercia Police and the council’s night-time economy team.

Cooper, a labrador, and cocker spaniel YoYo, followed their nose to track down the goods, even picking up the scent of cigarettes stashed behind a fake wall.

Yo Yo found a containment of cigarettes behind a false toilet mirror

Councillor Richard Overton, deputy leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and cabinet member for housing, enforcement and transport said: “This successful seizure is a direct result of us being a co-operative council and working closely with partner agencies. It is a clear example of how the council is committed to following up any information passed on about the potential sale of illegal goods.

“Those who attempt to sell fake cigarettes, vapes and alcohol are putting people at risk because we don’t know what ingredients are in them. We also know that the profits from this illicit trade fund organised crime and people trafficking rings. That is why we are on the side of law-abiding residents and businesses and will take action to crack down on this scourge.

“Our officers are continuing to gather the evidence in this case and people can be assured appropriate action will be taken.”

PC Sharon Major, from Telford’s problem solving hub at West Mercia Police, said: “This warrant saw a significant amount of counterfeit tobacco, alcohol and vaping products seized by our colleagues at Telford & Wrekin Council.

“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.”

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