llegal cigarettes seized in Hastings and Bexhill

More than 2,000 illegal cigarettes and seven kilos of rolling tobacco were seized in raids across the county, including Hastings and Bexhill, as a result of roadshows.

Tuesday, 27th September 2016, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 11:36 pm
Roger Cohen with Stu Phillips, from BWY Canine Ltd, provider of the sniffer dogs, and Yoyo with tobacco seized from a shop in Bexhill

East Sussex Trading Standards held roadshows in Eastbourne, Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill, featuring the sniffer dogs used to hunt down illegal tobacco products earlier this month.

Almost 600 people were spoken to and the information gathered led to raids at two shops in Bexhill plus shops in Hastings and Hailsham.

Officers seized 2,070 cigarettes – a mixture of counterfeits of genuine brands and so-called ‘cheap whites’ – made-up brands created by criminal gangs specifically for the black market.

Sniffer dog Yoyo sniffed out illegal tobacco at a shop in Hastings

Also found was 7.25kg of hand rolling tobacco and officers are further investigating the shops where the illegal goods were found.

East Sussex County Council lead member for community services Chris Dowling said: “As well as being a great way to spread the word about illegal tobacco, the events also allowed us to get some really valuable intelligence from the public.

“The information provided led to a significant quantity of cigarettes and rolling tobacco being seized, and investigations are continuing into the premises where they were found.

“The illegal tobacco trade puts people’s health in jeopardy, risks encouraging more young people to smoke and places money into the pockets of criminal gangs.

Roger Cohen with tobacco seized from a shop in Bexhill

“We received some really positive feedback from the people we spoke to at the events, and people loved meeting the sniffer dogs and seeing how they work.”

Anyone with information about illegal tobacco sales is urged to report it by calling the helpline on 0300 999 6999 or visit www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk.

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Roger Cohen with sniffer dog George and visitors to the event in Bexhill

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Roger Cohen with sniffer dog Phoebe and tobacco seized from a shop in Hastings SUS-160927-104337001

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Lee Ede, from East Sussex Trading Standards, with sniffer dog Phoebe and visitors to the event in St Leonards