A huge haul illegal cigarettes and vapes has been seized recently in Greater Manchester.
According to local reports, two specially-trained dogs have sniffed out a huge haul of 17,000 illegal cigarettes as part of a crackdown in Greater Manchester. The pair of springers also uncovered 7.95kg of illegal hand-rolling tobacco.
Bury Council officers have also seized 1,800 illicit vapes, with a street value of £33,000.
It follows a series of raids in three Bury shops and one in Prestwich. The sniffer dogs uncovered the dodgy tobacco from secret compartments which were carefully concealing the items.
Coun Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture, the economy and skills on Bury Council, said: “There’s a high price to pay for these ‘cheap’ purchases.
“Illegal tobacco is often linked to organised crime, with links to human trafficking, the drugs trade and loan sharks. This brings crime into our communities and exploits vulnerable people. It also leads to children getting hooked on a potentially lethal habit, and undermines smokers’ attempts to quit.” Bury Council’s raids, with the help of dogs from Wagtail UK, took place under Operation CeCe.
The initiative has been launched by national Trading Standards and HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco. Licensing officers and Greater Manchester Police targeted the four stores across the borough following reports from the public that tobacco was being sold ‘under the counter’.
A similar raid has also taken place at a convenience store in Rumworth, Bolton, where around 1,300 illicit cigarettes and more than 200 non-compliant vapes were seized. Coun Sue Haworth, executive member for regulatory services on Bolton Council, said, “These elaborate hidden compartments show the lengths rouge traders will go to when selling illegal goods.
“Illicit traders may resort to increasingly extreme measures to avoid detection, but nothing will stop us getting these harmful products off our streets. Investigations into the five shops in Bury, Prestwich and Rumworth are ongoing.”