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More illegal tobacco seized from Gateshead retailers

Dog in back of car

More than 20,000 illegal cigarettes and over 4kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized from shops and cars in Bensham last week.

Gateshead Council Trading Standards and officers from Northumbria Police uncovered the haul of illegal tobacco with the help of a highly trained tobacco sniffer dog in a series of intelligence-led daytime raids.

At one location, officers used force to enter two vehicles which were known to be storing illegal tobacco which was being sold by staff at Bensham Euro Market on Saltwell Road.

A further seizure came from Kubus General Dealers on Coatsworth Road where illegal tobacco was found hidden in a secret compartment within the shop.

The seizures come only a few weeks after Istanbul Store on Coatsworth Road was closed by magistrates using powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 due to the nuisance caused by the sale of illegal tobacco from those premises.

Illegal tobacco - what you need to know

Investigations into the seizures are continuing and Trading Standards says further action is likely.

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says these latest raids should act as a warning to other retailers engaged in criminal activity.

"Gateshead Council works closely with our colleagues at Northumbria Police to tackle the criminality and anti-social behaviour that these shops inevitably bring to the area.

"These latest raids demonstrate that we will take robust action wherever we identify wrong-doing and criminal behaviour, and these and other shops can expect to continue to be targeted by our officers."

If you'd like to share some information and help keep illegal tobacco out of your community, you can report it on the Illegal Tobacco Hotline: 0300 999 0000. It's quick, easy and completely anonymous.

Dog in back of car
07 May 2019

More than 20,000 illegal cigarettes and over 4kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized from shops and cars in Bensham last week.

Gateshead Council Trading Standards and officers from Northumbria Police uncovered the haul of illegal tobacco with the help of a highly trained tobacco sniffer dog in a series of intelligence-led daytime raids.

At one location, officers used force to enter two vehicles which were known to be storing illegal tobacco which was being sold by staff at Bensham Euro Market on Saltwell Road.

A further seizure came from Kubus General Dealers on Coatsworth Road where illegal tobacco was found hidden in a secret compartment within the shop.

The seizures come only a few weeks after Istanbul Store on Coatsworth Road was closed by magistrates using powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 due to the nuisance caused by the sale of illegal tobacco from those premises.

Illegal tobacco - what you need to know

Investigations into the seizures are continuing and Trading Standards says further action is likely.

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says these latest raids should act as a warning to other retailers engaged in criminal activity.

"Gateshead Council works closely with our colleagues at Northumbria Police to tackle the criminality and anti-social behaviour that these shops inevitably bring to the area.

"These latest raids demonstrate that we will take robust action wherever we identify wrong-doing and criminal behaviour, and these and other shops can expect to continue to be targeted by our officers."

If you'd like to share some information and help keep illegal tobacco out of your community, you can report it on the Illegal Tobacco Hotline: 0300 999 0000. It's quick, easy and completely anonymous.

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