Stroke-on-Trent Trading standards teams is cracking down hard on sale of illegal tobacco across the city and has seized about 22,000 illegal cigarettes in three months.
According to the council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has visited 16 premises where illegal tobacco has been found and seized. Between April to the end of June this year nearly 22,000 cigarettes, and 13 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, which accumulates to a retail value of over £21,000 have been seized.
Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for the environment and enforcement, said: “The exceptional work carried out by our Trading Standards team sends a strong message to businesses dealing in illegal tobacco. There is a zero-tolerance for the sale of illegal products and activities in the city and anyone who is found to be engaging in these such actions will face serious consequences.
“The collective effort to combat this illegal trade is a crucial step in which we are dedicated to safeguarding the health and well-being of our residents and continue to build a safe and thriving city for everyone.”
This comes as Trading Standards officers across England, Wales and Scotland now have new powers to act against businesses and individuals selling illicit tobacco. This means businesses and individuals selling illicit tobacco can receive a penalty of up to £10,000.
Trading Standards officers now have the power to refer cases to HMRC for further investigation where businesses or individuals have been found to sell illicit tobacco. HMRC, where appropriate, will administer the penalties and ensure the appropriate sanction is applied and enforced.
“Illegal tobacco has become a significant challenge for the city, undermining public health and posing a threat to legitimate businesses that adhere to regulatory standards. The illicit trade of tobacco not only deprives the government of essential tax revenue, which funds vital public services, but also exposes consumers to unregulated and potentially dangerous products,” states the council.