Around 500,000 cigarettes, 40Kg of hand rolling tobacco and nearly 1,000 illegal vapes have been seized from shops and storage locations following raids at locations across Flintshire and Wrexham.
Officers from Trading Standards, Immigration Enforcement, Intellectual Property Office and North Wales Police took part supported by tobacco detection dogs from WagtailUK.
The biggest single seizure of around 500,000 cigarettes was discovered being stored at a private house in Flint. Smaller quantities of tobacco and also illegal disposable vapes were recovered from retail outlets in Wrexham and across Flintshire.
Richard Powell, Trading Standards Manager at Flintshire CC said: “This large seizure from a private house in the county is significant. It will have been the central storage for distribution to a number of outlets across the county and far beyond, and loss of this quantity of tobacco will have an impact on availability of illegal product.
“It is really important that we keep up the pressure on the illegal tobacco market and the results of these raids demonstrate how effective joint operations can be. Illegal tobacco is distributed and supplied through organised criminal networks. This is often linked to other criminal activity and brings crime into our local communities.
“As well the large quantity of illegal tobacco recovered, officers seized illegal vape products, over £10,000 in cash and number of laptops and phones.”
Roger Mapleson, Trading Standards Lead at Wrexham CBC and Lead Officer for Tobacco for Trading Standards Wales said: “Smoking kills over 5,000 people in Wales every year and half of all long term smokers will die as a direct consequence of their habit.
“Illegal tobacco is cigarettes or rolling tobacco that has been smuggled and where no duty has been paid. This means it can be sold for less than half the price of legitimate duty paid tobacco creating a significant problem in our communities. It makes it much easier for children to access tobacco and acquire a lifelong addiction and it makes it much harder for existing smokers to quit.”
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