More than £25,000 worth of illegal tobacco has been seized from multiple businesses in Bletchley following a joint operation by Milton Keynes City Council Trading Standards, the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and Thames Valley Police.
One business, Bletchley Express, was issued with a closure order by Milton Keynes magistrates due to its persistent sale of illegal tobacco and vapes following previous visits and seizures by Milton Keynes Trading Standards.
The closure order prevents access to the premises for three months effectively stopping the business from trading.
A tobacco detection dog used as part of the investigation revealed a hidden compartment within a purpose-built brick wall designed to hide the goods. More than 1,300 packs of illegal cigarettes, equating to over 26,000 individual cigarettes, along with a quantity of illegal hand rolling tobacco, illegal shisha and vapes have been seized in the raids.
“This is a significant bust which has thousands of illegal tobacco products off our streets. Illegal tobacco is often linked to organised crime and goes far beyond someone trying to make a quick buck by selling cheap cigarettes. We’ll continue working with partners to get these products off our streets for good and prosecute the perpetrators where necessary,” Cllr Paul Trendall, cabinet member responsible for Trading Standards, said.
Sergeant Ricci Dolan, of SEROCU, added: “We are determined to stop the harm that the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes causes in our communities. Supporting these operations and taking action to disrupt activity is just one way in which we are committed to tackling serious and organised crime.”