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    Illegal tobacco, vapes worth £100,000 seized from Plymouth stores

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    Illegal tobacco and vapes worth almost £100,000 have been seized from five premises across Plymouth.

    According to local reports, officers from the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service visited six commercial and retail premises recently on the basis of intelligence. They were accompanied by officers from Devon and Cornwall police and specialist tobacco detection dogs.

    During the visits, 17,075 packets of 20 cigarettes, with an estimated sell-on value of £85,375, and 34.4 kg (688 pouches) of hand rolling tobacco, worth an estimated £4,816 were seized. Additionally, 550 vapes, with an estimated value of £7,150, were found and confiscated.

    Some of the tobacco was located in hidden compartments within the premises, including behind a panel built into the till areas. The compartments were operated by secret hidden electrical switches. In another premise, the team’s detection dog found illegal vapes hidden in boxes amongst loose tea leaves.

    Councillor Sally Haydon, Cabinet member for Community Safety, Libraries, Cemeteries and Crematoria said,  “We are working hard to make Plymouth a healthier city and ensure everyone lives long healthy lives. 

    “All tobacco poses a health risk, but illegal tobacco is sold at pocket money prices and can be bought by children from sellers who are only interested in making money. 

    “Access to cheap tobacco allows people to carry on smoking when they would otherwise quit. Anyone who thinks that selling a few dodgy pouches is harmless is utterly deluding themselves. Smoking is one of the biggest health problems Plymouth faces and as a Council we are determined to do all we can to encourage people in Plymouth to lead a healthy life as possible.”

    Alex Fry, Operations Manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards, said, “Removing illegal tobacco and vapes from the marketplace is a high priority for us, and this was yet another successful operation. Shops selling these products will do anything to keep their illegal trade hidden from our officers, but with the help of sniffer dogs, there’s no hiding place.  Sellers of illegal products have no regard for the age of the purchaser or the safety of the item and are often linked to Organised Crime Groups.”

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