LONDON: Over 3,000 cigarettes and 3,200 packs of chewing tobacco have been seized in a crackdown on illegal tobacco.
The raids were carried out at three locations in Woodford Green and Ilford on January 18, when sniffer dogs found illegal products under floorboards and hidden in food packaging.
Carried out in partnership with Redbridge Council, ‘Operation Henry’ was part of a nationwide crackdown by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Health.
Redbridge’s cabinet member for civic pride, Councillor Dev Sharma, said: “People who deal in illegal tobacco are more likely to encourage others, especially children and young adults, to smoke.
“We are working hard to keep these illegal products off ours streets and are cracking down on the businesses and individuals that flout the law.”
Deputy Director of Fraud and Investigation service at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Richard Las, said: “Seizing illicit products is only one of the tools we use.
“The focus is on using a range of interventions, from penalties to prosecutions, to encourage compliance and maximise deterrent in areas with the highest levels of illegal tobacco activity.”
Anyone with information about illegal tobacco can call HMRC customs hotline anonymously on 0800 595 000.