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Illegal tobacco seized from Bensham shop

illegal tobacco

More than 3,000 illegal cigarettes and over 1kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized from a shop 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, during intelligence-led daytime raids.

The seizure came from Yusuf Mini Market Ltd on Coatsworth Road where the illegal tobacco was found in a concealed area within the shop.

The searches took place under Operation CeCe which is a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco.

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

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

"We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in Northumbria Police to clamp down on businesses selling illegal tobacco. It is not a victimless crime and we will take robust action against anyone found doing so. Businesses deserve to be in a level playing field and should not benefit from criminal behaviour.

"All smoking kills, but illegal tobacco helps make it easier for children to buy tobacco and keeps people hooked on an addiction that kills over 5,000 people in our region ever year. That's just one of the reasons why it's important to crack down on illegal sales."

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.

illegal tobacco
13 July 2021

More than 3,000 illegal cigarettes and over 1kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized from a shop 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, during intelligence-led daytime raids.

The seizure came from Yusuf Mini Market Ltd on Coatsworth Road where the illegal tobacco was found in a concealed area within the shop.

The searches took place under Operation CeCe which is a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco.

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

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

"We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in Northumbria Police to clamp down on businesses selling illegal tobacco. It is not a victimless crime and we will take robust action against anyone found doing so. Businesses deserve to be in a level playing field and should not benefit from criminal behaviour.

"All smoking kills, but illegal tobacco helps make it easier for children to buy tobacco and keeps people hooked on an addiction that kills over 5,000 people in our region ever year. That's just one of the reasons why it's important to crack down on illegal sales."

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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