Thousands of pounds worth of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vaping equipment has been seized in a South Yorkshire Police joint operation targeting three shops.
According to local reports, police and Rotherham Council trading standards officers carried out the work amid concerns that products may contain toxins and poisonous metals, and also seized illegal consignments of the popular energy drink Prime.
In total than £9,000 worth of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vaping equipment were seized from shops in Eastwood and Ferham. The first of the raids happened earlier this month, when 110 illicit vapes reportedly worth £990 and 38 illegal bottles of the energy drink, Prime, with an estimated street value £190 were seized from Eastwood.
A couple of days later, some 372 vapes were seized in Ferham with an estimated value of £4,464. The same day 1,700 illicit cigarettes worth £783, 800g of illegal tobacco worth an estimated £192 and 229 vapes thought to be worth £2,748 were seized at another premises in Eastwood. This year has now seen illegal cigarettes worth an estimated £90,704 and illicit vapes thought to be worth £97,131 recovered to give a combined total of £187,835 in Rotherham, stated local reports.
PC Tom Wykes was part of the SYP team involved in the operation. He said: “We know from speaking to residents when out and about that illegal smoking paraphernalia such as this can have a detrimental effect on their community.
“Using intelligence built up by ourselves and our partners such as the council’s Trading Standards department, we execute these warrants to target the supply of these illicit goods to stop them getting into the hands of both young and old in our communities.
“These practices will not be tolerated, and we hope that this shows the hard work that goes into keeping the streets safe for those who live here.”
Councilor Dominic Beck, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for transport and environment, said, “We are committed to helping Rotherham residents be safe, healthy and live well. There are increased risks of harm caused by illicit vapes and tobacco products, which haven’t been through any regulatory control – including chemicals and toxic metals – so it is important we continue to work with the police and local businesses to ensure they are complying with the law.