According to West Yorkshire police, the Trading Standards and officers from the Huddersfield Town Centre Team are continuing to investigate after seizing a high value haul of goods in a joint operation in Huddersfield earlier in August.
Officers raided a number of shops suspected of being involved in the illegal cigarettes and vaper trade and of also selling their products to minors. During the operation police and trading standards officers seized 12,000 cigarettes, four kg of hand rolling tobacco and 4,500 vapes with a retail value of £45,000.
The operation was one of a number carried out in recent months in Kirklees to target businesses suspected of being involved in the illegal supply of products. Changes in legislation last year meant that vapes are now restricted to a certain capacity and nicotine strength and authorities were aware that devices which did not meet legal standards were in circulation.
It is also known that proceeds from the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes can be used to fund organised criminal enterprise, stated the police.
Sergeant Amanda Holroyd, the Kirklees Town Centre Partnership sergeant, said, “Illegal tobacco and vapes worth well over £100,000 have now been recovered by officers from our team and West Yorkshire Trading Standards over the last 12 months and this latest operation has again resulted in very significant seizures.
“The sale of such products is a real cause of concern for residents, especially when we know they may not meet UK standards and are suspected of being sold to children
“We know cash from the sale of such goods can often be used to directly fund organised crime so it is important we do all we can to cut off sources of funding for serious criminality which can blight communities.
She added: “We would urge anyone with information regarding the illicit tobacco and Vape trade in Kirklees to contact the Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team via 101 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat or contact West Yorkshire Trading Standards direct.