More than 5 million illegal cigarettes were confiscated from local retailers in the first half of this year, according to the Trading Standards Department.
The transportation of illegal goods included over 1,700 kg (3,700 lbs) of hand-rolled cigarettes and 66 kg (145 lbs) of shisha.
Operation CeCe, the first joint initiative of National Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), is in January.
Operations CeCe is part of a broader government strategy to disrupt the illegal tobacco market, from front-line retailers to global organized crime groups.
Wendy Martin, Director of National Trading Standards, said:
“Beyond the significant impact of tobacco on people’s health, illegal tobacco trafficking is often part of other criminal activity such as drug smuggling, human trafficking, illegal alcohol and DVD production.
“The price of confiscated cigarettes is often less than half the price of legal cigarettes. This not only undermines the job of reducing the number of smokers, but also impacts legitimate businesses. Give.
“This operation was the first collaboration between National Trading Standards and HMRC, and in the first six months it was a huge success in removing large numbers of illegal tobacco products from the streets and blocking this illegal trade. I’m happy. “
Simon York, director of HM Revenue and Customs Fraud Investigation Services, said:
“This is a transaction that costs about £ 2.3 billion ($ 3.2 billion) annually to UK taxpayers, undermining our critical public services and harming the community, including guns, drugs and human trafficking. Fund many other crimes that affect you.
“Stakeholders can easily cut down on legitimate businesses and don’t care who they sell to, including children. As these results clearly show, HMRC and trading standards are illegal tobacco trading. I am determined to eradicate. “
By Josie Clarke