Illegal tobacco worth thousands of pounds had been found stored in spy film style hidden hatches in a store in Huddersfield.
Enquires remain ongoing by the Huddersfield Town Centre Team and West Yorkshire Trading Standards after officers found hundreds of packets of illegal cigarettes and vapes stored behind a false wall in store on Thursday (11).
According to West Yorkshire Police, officers found illegal materials concealed within a false wall, with access gained via a disguised electrically controlled hatch. A total of 144 packets of cigarettes were found in the operation as well as 231 illegal vapes and a number of large packets of rolling tobacco.
Police and trading standards officers have so far recovered significant quantities of recovered illegal tobacco and vape goods in a series of operations over the last 12 months.
Inspector Mark Pattinson of Kirklees Police said, “People may see the sale of illegal cigarettes as not as harmful as other types of criminality, but it is well proven that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime.
“These illegal products can also be more harmful to public health due to lack of regulation and testing and it is important we act to restrict their sales.
“In this latest operation officers discovered a significant quantity of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes inside the premises which the owners had attempted to conceal within a false wall, with access gained via a disguised electrically controlled hatch.
“All of the illegal items were seized by trading standards and will be destroyed. None of us want to see organised crime in our neighbourhoods and I encourage residents to keep contacting us with any information which can help us disrupt criminal activity and the sale of illegal goods.
The seizure followed on from the discovery of more than £100,000 of carefully concealed illegal and potentially dangerous tobacco in Dewsbury last October. Contraband from those raids was founds stored in locations including a hinged wall hidden behind a bathroom mirror and a concealed cupboard hidden behind a false fuse board.