Thousands of illegal cigarettes seized from a shop in Brent
PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 December 2015
Thousands of illegal cigarettes hidden in bathroom cabinets, medicine storage units and inside shop furniture have been discovered in a store in Brent.
A similar stash has also been found concealed in a second shop in Harrow.
In both cases the tobacco products found had not paid duty tax making them illegal.
Officers from Brent and Harrow Trading Standards (BHTS) seized more then 8,500 cigarettes, 250 sachets of oral tobacco and pouches of hand rolling tobacco during an operation using specially trained sniffer dogs.
The dogs can sniff out illegal tobacco no matter where it is concealed.
Simon Legg, from BHTS, said: “Specially trained detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes in the most unlikely places where officers would not consider looking such as in wall cavities, freezers, toilet cisterns and hidden in amongst other stock which at first glance, may appear to be legitimate.”
The illicit tobacco was discovered during the raids that were coordinated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and supported by the Department of Health as part of intelligence-led Operation Henry 2.
The operation is tackling illicit tobacco supplies in nine regions of England, over six months, using specialist detection dogs from Wagtail UK.
Cllr James Denselow, Brent Council’s cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “Our trading standards officers are working hard to keep these illegal products off the streets and are cracking down on the businesses and individuals that flout the law.”
In November, Murtaba Alijanabi, 46, of Greville Road, Kilburn, was fined after illegal cigarettes were found by sniffer dogs concealed behind a false wall in his shop in Edgware Road
Anyone with information about illegal tobacco can call HMRC customs hotline anonymously on 0800 595 000.