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    Over £100,000 of illegal tobacco seized from ‘James Bond style’ hidden spots in Dewsbury

    Image from West Yorkshire Police

    More than £100,000 of carefully concealed illegal and potentially dangerous tobacco has been seized in Dewsbury on Monday (23) as officers from the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT and West Yorkshire Trading Standards are continuing to investigate.

    Attending officers said they had been surprised by the lengths those involved had gone to in concealing their stash, with some hiding places being worthy of a James Bond style spy film. They said in one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.   

    Another was hidden in a section of hinged false wall hidden behind a bathroom mirror which slid up within the frame it was in. The joint teams visited retailers in Dewsbury with a specialist drugs dog in the operation. 

    In addition to the tobacco a number of illegal disposable vapes were seized, the vapes containing more than the legal maximum of 2ml of liquid, around 600 puffs, West Yorkshire Police reported.

    The operation was the latest in a series of raids by police and trading standards and police in Kirklees to clamp down on illegal and counterfeit goods sales. In August 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 in an operation in Huddersfield. 

    It is also known that proceeds from the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes can be used to fund organised criminal enterprise.  

    Sergeant Stuart Clarke of the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT, said,  “We know that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime and through this operation, West Yorkshire Trading Standards and Police have dealt a substantial blow to the criminals benefitting from the supply of illegal and illicit tobacco in communities, 

    “Through working together we removed in excess of  £100k worth of illegal and potentially dangerous Tobacco products were removed from stores carrying illegal goods. 

    “Investigations will continue to identify supply routes and Police Licensing Officers will consider breaches of the premises licence.” Sergeant Clarke said that some of the methods used to store the illicit products had been quite ingenious.

    “Some of the premises had hidden the tobacco in specially designed hides, reminiscent of James Bond style gadgets,” he said.  “In one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.” 

    “Anyone with information about the supply of illicit tobacco is encouraged to contact Trading Standards Confidential reporting system at www.keep-it-out.co.uk or via independent crime prevention charity Crime Stoppers on 0800555111,” he added.

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