More than 200 packets of illegal cigarettes were seized from a shop in Worthing – with help from man’s best friend.
The illicit haul was part of an operation led by West Sussex Trading Standards officers targeting rogue retailers, assisted by tobacco detection dog Yoyo.
Trading Standards Officers visited 3 shops in Worthing supported by Sussex Police following a tip-off claiming they were selling illegal tobacco.
A total of 205 packets of illegal cigarettes and 63 packets of tobacco were found at one of the shops.
Some of the items found were illegally imported into the UK without duty being paid and do not comply with the legal packaging and labelling requirements.
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager said: “Sales of illicit cigarettes and tobacco products damage local communities and people’s health but also harms legitimate businesses – it’s certainly not a victimless crime.
“We always act on reports of illegal tobacco and urge anyone who has information to call Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133, or report the details on our website.”
Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire & Rescue said: “Yet again our Trading Standards Officers have demonstrated they will take action to stop the supply of illicit cigarettes and tobacco – and stop shopkeepers flouting the law.
“Sadly, too many people have had their lives cut short because of smoking, which is why tackling the supply of cheap, illegal tobacco is so crucial and must continue.
“I hope the results of this operation in Worthing send a strong message that if shop owners deal in illicit cigarettes, they should expect to be caught, have their stock removed and face criminal charges and possible investigation from HMRC if duty has been evaded.
If you have any information about the sale or supply of illegal tobacco call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or report the details online at: www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSreport.