Walsall Trading Standards, HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) and West Midlands Police raided six separate locations in Caldmore Walsall during a recent crackdown on illicit tobacco in the borough. Up to thirty officers and trained detection dogs took part in the sting - sniffing out and seizing cigarettes from premises suspected of trading illegally. The illicit tobacco had an estimated retail value of up to £120 000 and would have sold on the streets for £40,000.
The three-hour operation quickly yielded what officers believe to be fake brands of illicit tobacco. Walsall Trading Standards officers removed dozens of tightly packed cases of Golden Virginia and Amber Leaf tobacco from several locations and raided cars near to the premises. After forcing the car boots, Trading Standards found them rammed with cases and sleeves of popular named brands including Marlboro Red and L & M cigarettes. A number of potentially unsafe children’s toys were also seized during the operation, as well as bags and boxes of antibiotic medicines that had originated from outside of the United Kingdom.
Walsall Trading Standards will continue to work with West Midlands Police and partner agencies to gather evidence with a view to prosecution.
Councillor Garry Perry Portfolio Holder for Community Safety at Walsall Council commented: “Well done to all involved. This is an excellent start in disrupting the activities of these criminals and we will do everything in our power to bring them to account. Illicit and counterfeit tobacco is an absolute scourge to communities and a real threat to the health of Walsall. Non payment of tax on illicit tobacco also means less money goes to vital public services. The illegal trade seriously undermines our efforts to reduce smoking in the borough and protect children and communities from the harmful effects of tobacco. We are determined to crack down on this menace."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Proceeds of Crime
Tweets by WalsallCouncil