Illegal tobacco products including cigarettes and vapes ‘worth around £12,000’ seized from Preston shops

Illegal tobacco products worth around £12,000 if sold as genuine were seized from two shops in Preston.
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Officers working alongside Trading Standards and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service raided two shops in the city on Monday (October 9).

1,228 illegal tobacco products including cigarettes and vapes were subsequently seized as well as £1,000 in cash believed to be the proceeds of crime.

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In one of the shops, items were hidden behind a concealed storage compartment which was secured using a remote control magnetic lock.

1,228 illegal tobacco products including cigarettes and vapes were seized from two shops in Preston (Credit: Lancashire Police)1,228 illegal tobacco products including cigarettes and vapes were seized from two shops in Preston (Credit: Lancashire Police)
1,228 illegal tobacco products including cigarettes and vapes were seized from two shops in Preston (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Sgt Roz Walsh, from Preston’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Information from the public is invaluable to the police.

“Without it, we would be unable to carry out this sort of proactive work which helps to prevent and detect crime, ensuring the safeguarding and protection of our community.”

“This operation demonstrates the strong working relationships that we have with our partners and the commitment we all have to working together to tackle this sort of activity which often leads to anti-social behaviour in the surrounding communities.”

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The haul would be worth around £12,000 if sold as genuine, police said (Credit: Lancashire Police)The haul would be worth around £12,000 if sold as genuine, police said (Credit: Lancashire Police)
The haul would be worth around £12,000 if sold as genuine, police said (Credit: Lancashire Police)
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Operation Centurion is Lancashire Police’s response to tackling anti-social behaviour .

It is backed by Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden and £2m of extra funding secured from the Government’s new Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan.

County Coun Michael Green, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Once again, our Trading Standards team have joined forces with Lancashire Constabulary as part of the Operation Centurion initiative.

“Cheap, illicit tobacco and illegal vapes are all too easily available to purchase and the sale of illegal products has a serious impact on both legitimate businesses, and on our communities.

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“Closing off avenues where illicit goods are sold is not just a matter of enforcing the law, it is a way of protecting public health.”

To report intelligence on illegal tobacco or vapes sales, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133.

To report a crime, call police on 101, report it online via https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk/, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information on Operation Centurion, click HERE.