More than 20,000 counterfeit cigarettes have been seized in Preston as part of a multi-agency crackdown on anti-social behaviour.
For the Operation Centurion ‘day of action’ on 19 July, Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards Officers joined enforcement officers from agencies including Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, Immigration Enforcement, Preston City Council Housing Standards, Preston City Council Licensing and Waste/Environment officers.
On New Hall Lane in Preston, the crackdown team visited premises to look for issues that can cause problems for the community.
Seizures of illicit tobacco were made from two businesses. More than 20,000 cigarettes and 2,850g of rolling tobacco were found in a rear store room of one shop, as well as 183 non-compliant vapes openly being sold at the counter. Counterfeit brands seized included Richmond, Lambert and Butler, as well as less familiar brands such as Manchester & Pect. Amber Leaf and Turner hand rolling tobacco were also discovered. At other shops, 32 bottles of suspected non-duty paid alcohol, including Smirnoff, were found along with 15 packs of prescription only medicines, which must be prescribed by a doctor or other authorised health professional and dispensed by a pharmacy or from another specifically licensed place.
Lancashire County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Lancashire Council said, “Closing off avenues where illicit goods are sold is not just a matter of enforcing the law, it is a way of protecting public health and keeping the community safe.
“Our Trading Standards Team will continue to keep seizing illicit tobacco and non-compliant vapes and continue to take enforcement action against rogue traders.
“I encourage anyone to report shops to us that they believe may be behaving in an illegal way. Anyone who sees shops selling counterfeit goods, selling e–cigarettes to young people under 18 years of age or sees vapes that may be illegal, can refer such issues to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice helpline on 0808 223 1133