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    Illegal tobacco, vapes sniffed out in Folkestone and Hythe

    Image from Kent County Council

    Authorities in Kent seized illegal tobacco goods including vapes in a “day of disruption” in Folkestone and Hythe.

    Officers from trading standards, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Kent Police said a “significant” quantity of illegal goods were seized. They were supported by specialist search dogs, including detection dog that helped sniff out the items.

    Officers said illegal products brought “organised crime into communities” and could pose a threat to public safety. Seven outlets were visited, and at five of them illegal tobacco products were seized, including vapes.

    James Whiddett, Operations Manager for Kent Trading Standards, said, “The multi-agency approach to the activity enabled officers to deal with the premises in an effective way.

    “The use of Cooper the detection dog was extremely helpful as some premises use sophisticated hides for the illegal product that only Cooper can find. Trading Standards will continue to remove illegal tobacco from the high streets of Kent as this illegal activity brings criminals into our communities and can encourage children to smoke due to the cheap price of the products.”

    Trading Standards works with partner agencies on the issues found on the day to ensure that engagement is made where compliance activity is appropriate or conduct further enforcement investigations as required.

    Detective Inspector James Wyles from Kent Police’s Community Safety Unit said, “The sale of illegal vaping and tobacco products brings organised crime into communities and undermines local legitimate businesses. They can also pose a serious threat to public safety.

    “As part of our work to keep Folkestone safe we will continue to work with partner agencies, and Cooper the detection dog, to prevent the sale of these potentially dangerous products.”

    Cllr Mike Blakemore, Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Collaboration, added, “Illegal tobacco and vaping products can have a damaging impact on local communities.

    “These visits help to protect residents from the organised crime associated with the trade, as well as reduce the risk of children and young people taking up smoking in the first place.”

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