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Seized cigarettes to be destroyed in N E Lincs

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team is set to destroy its haul of 20,000 illicit cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco seized during recent operations across the borough

Trading Standards currently have almost 1,000 packets of illicit cigarettes and more than 6kg of illicit hand rolling tobacco in storage that needs to be destroyed.

This comes as North East Lincolnshire health and wellbeing board have funded staff within the team to focus on reducing the availability of illicit tobacco.

The project which aims to stamp out the trade in illicit and fake tobacco products within North East Lincolnshire will see inspections to retailers, investigations into reports of ‘fag houses’ and tobacco dealers selling from business premises.

There will also be some pro-active education work with partner organisations and community based teams.

Anyone caught dealing in illicit tobacco will face enforcement action with the maximum penalty for a conviction being an unlimited fine and up to 10 years imprisonment per sale.

Neil Clark, community protection manager at North East Lincolnshire Council responsible for Trading Standards, said:

“It is not surprising that smokers are attracted to cheap, illegal brands of cigarettes but these brands are completely unregulated with few controls on how they are produced. They may therefore not only present additional risks from the poor quality of materials and poor hygiene but as they do not comply with current fire safety requirements, they can be lethal.
“We appeal to anyone to get in touch if you have information about any people or businesses selling counterfeit or illicit tobacco products.”

Genuine, legal packets of cigarettes or hand rolled tobacco can be easily recognised as they should have the words UK DUTY PAID on the packs, all of the wording should be in English and there are health warning messages on both the front and back of the packet.

People are being asked to report people who they suspect of selling cheap, illegal cigarettes to North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards on 01472 326299 (option 3). Alternatively, they can ring Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.