As part of Operation CeCe – a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco – KCC Trading Standards officers, with the support of Kent Police and immigration teams, have targeted illicit tobacco sellers in Margate and Ramsgate.
Premises previously identified as selling illicit tobacco were revisited this week, resulting in 724 packs of cigarettes and 8kg of hand rolling tobacco seized from four shops on Tuesday and a further 169 packets of cigarettes and 5kg of hand rolling tobacco seized from three shops on Wednesday.
In addition, the Immigration Service will be issuing fines to two workers and one shop was requested to shut as it was being staffed by individuals without the appropriate work status. About £1,500, believed to be the proceeds of crime, was seized by Kent Police.
Clive Phillips, Operations Manager for KCC Trading Standards, said: “We will continue to work alongside our enforcement partners, taking action against the sale of this counterfeit tobacco for as long as this illegal trade continues.
“The sale of illicit tobacco undermines local legitimate businesses and inevitably funds organised crime. We will do everything in our power to protect the safety and rights of the residents and businesses of Kent.
“Illegal tobacco brings organised crime into communities while making smoking more affordable for young people and those attempting to quit. Shops selling illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously through 0300 999 6 999 or by visiting www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk .”