THE Evening Post today reveals significant success in its campaign to tackle the illicit tobacco trade after Trading Standards chiefs revealed a THIRD more people came forward with information whilst the campaign has been running.
It coincides with a 40% increase in reports to Lancashire Crimestoppers regarding related offences, which charity chiefs say points to the success of the campaign.
The Don’t Let Them Make a Packet campaign has lifted the lid on how the county’s criminal underworld is profiting from smuggling illicit cigarettes and tobacco and selling them on the black market, often to the most vulnerable and impressionable in our communities.
One of its key aims is to increase information passed on to the authorities after it emerged very few people in Preston, South Ribble and Chorley, give information on illicit tobacco dealers compared to the east of the county.
The number of pieces of intelligence passed on in Preston increased from 14 to 19 whilst in South Ribble it increased from two to four and in Chorley from two to five.
Gary Murray, North West regional manager for Crimestoppers, said: “We have seen a 40% increase in information on trading standards offences over the last month. It is also a 20% increase on November, the month before the campaign started.
“Numbers are small in comparison to crimes such as drugs, but we are now getting as many calls as major crime types.
“Information on these offences is significantly higher in Lancashire than in neighbouring police areas such as Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria, which would point to the success of the campaign.”
Andrea Crossfield, director of Tobacco Free Futures, which works to tackle the harm caused by tobacco across the North West, said: “It’s really pleasing more and more people across Lancashire are coming forward with information to help to rid our streets of the scourge of illegal tobacco.”
Call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.