Thousands of pounds worth of Illegal vapes and cigarettes seized from shops across Preston
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Police and Trading Standards seized a total of 1,024 illegal nicotine products from three shops across the city last Tuesday (March 7).
The illicit haul – worth around £7,000 if sold as genuine – included counterfeit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco and illegal vapes.
One of the shops had even stashed the products behind a swing-out wall fixing in an attempt to hide them from view.
The shops have not been named by Lancashire Police or Trading Standards at this stage.
Sgt Martin Hughes, from Preston Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are committed to continuing to tackle this type of crime which has a negative impact on genuine businesses but also on the health and wellbeing of the public.
"We would encourage the public to let us know if they believe shops or establishments are supplying these kinds of products so that we can work with partners and take positive action.”
Trading Standards Officer, Dawn Robinson, said: "The items seized were a mixture of illicit tobacco products, either counterfeit or bearing incorrect health warnings, and illegal vapes.
"The sheer volume of seizures of these products by Trading Standards (twenty-two from Lancashire retailers so far in 2023) demonstrates the value of the illegal trade in these products, with some unscrupulous retailers clearly reluctant to comply with the law.
“Cheap illicit tobacco is readily available to young people and encourages them to smoke.
"Please refer any intelligence on illegal tobacco sales to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133."