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    Counterfeit cigarettes, illegal vapes worth £7,000 seized in Redditch 

    Image by West Mercia Police

    Counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco with an estimated street value of £7,000 were seized during raids on stores in Redditch on Monday (11).

    Officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) supported our partners at Worcestershire Trading Standards during the operation as part of ongoing efforts to tackle serious and organised crime.

    They were joined by a dog handler with tobacco search dogs targeting the mini market on Church Green and two stores in the Mount Pleasant area.

    The team searched the stores to see if they were selling illicit tobacco or vapes on the back of intelligence gathered and information provided that these shops had not been using the “Challenge 25” policy.

    At the mini market, around £7,000 of counterfeit cigarettes were found by a search dog concealed inside a metal entry door, as well as illegal tobacco behind a CCTV screen and in the kitchen area.

    A further £500 of illegal vapes and £100 of counterfeit perfumes were also found at a mini market in Mount Pleasant. All the illicit items were seized by Trading Standards.

    At another shop in Mount Pleasant, drugs search dogs found evidence of the presence of tobacco in a concealed area, however the stock had been moved on.

    Police Sergeant Dave Roberts of Redditch Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “These illegal cigarettes and vapes are destined for the black market; the profits are linked to organised crime groups so taking them off the streets has not only protected the public from these unregulated products but also disrupted a wider network of criminal activity that ultimately impacts our local communities.”

    “Today’s raids acted on intelligence gathered by Trading Standards around the illicit sales of counterfeit cigarettes, tobacco and illegal vapes in the town, as well as under-age sales.”

    The raid forms part of Operation Target, which sees us work closely with other forces and our partners to tackle serious and organised crime and the harm it causes.

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