People and communities
Illicit tobacco products seized by Trading Standards in Walsall
A National Trading Standards campaign against illicit tobacco has resulted in the seizure of 2.8kg of illegal tobacco, 3460 illegal cigarettes, 635 illegal vapes, 100 illegal cigars, 96 packets of illegal shisha tobacco, and 26 boxes of medication not for use in the UK in total from seven premises in Walsall.
Illicit tobacco products, illegal workers and an infestation of mice are just some of the things that Walsall Council Trading Standards officers have had to deal with in the run up to Christmas this year.
On Tuesday 13 December 2022, Walsall Trading Standards carried out an operation searching for illicit tobacco with support from the Willenhall NHT and Immigration.
The raids, dubbed ‘Operation CeCe’, formed part of a national Trading Standards campaign against illicit tobacco which resulted in the seizure of 2.8kg of illegal tobacco, 3460 illegal cigarettes, 635 illegal vapes, 100 illegal cigars, 96 packets of illegal shisha tobacco, and 26 boxes of medication not for use in the UK in total from seven premises.
Immigration was called to investigate three of the premises, of which two were closed due to illegal workers, with the third to provide paperwork.
As if that wasn’t enough, officers also reported a mouse infestation to Environmental Health at one of the shops on their hit list.
Mice had chewed stock on shelves used to store food and two mice had been caught on glue boards. The premises was served with a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice to close the store which was ratified in court on Friday 16 December 2022.
An external Pest Control company was engaged to deal with the infestation and preventative structural works were completed, enabling Environmental Health Officers to re-open the premises on Monday 19 December.
“ I am shocked and disappointed with the clear disregard for, not just the law, but for people’s health and safety, that has been shown by these retailers.
Selling illicit products can be extremely dangerous to people’s health, and I hope this successful operation serves as a warning to anyone daft enough to be thinking about stocking and selling illicit items in the future.
I’m extremely proud of the work that Trading Standards, Immigration, the Police and Environmental Health do to keep our communities safe and want to thank them for their hard work.
“ The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law.
Having removed 21 million illegal cigarettes, 5,800kg of hand rolling tobacco and almost 175kg of shisha products from sale, the National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC continues to successfully disrupt this illicit trade.