Half a million illicit cigarettes seized from Flint house during week of action
A significant blow was dealt to the illegal tobacco trade in North East Wales last week, as a joint operation resulted in the seizure of over 500,000 cigarettes and a large quantity of illegal vapes.
The operation, which took place in Flintshire and Wrexham, involved officers from Trading Standards, Immigration Enforcement, the Intellectual Property Office, and North Wales Police.
They were supported by tobacco detection dogs from Holywell based Wagtail UK.
Searches were conducted in shops and storage locations across both areas, with the largest single seizure of approximately half a million cigarettes occurring at a house in Flint.
In addition to the tobacco products, more than £10,000 in cash, several laptops, and phones were recovered. Smaller quantities of tobacco and illegal disposable vapes were also seized from retail outlets in Wrexham and across Flintshire.
North Wales Police Chief Inspector Steve Roberts highlighted the importance of such operations.
“This co-ordinated operation demonstrates the value of multi-agency and cross authority partnership work to combat serious and organised crime in our area,” he said.
“Illegal tobacco, supplied through organised criminal networks, is often linked to other criminal activity, which is why it’s important we continue to disrupt against the illegal tobacco product business.”
Richard Powell, Trading Standards Manager at Flintshire County Council, echoed these sentiments. “The large seizure from the private house is significant.”
“It will have been the central storage for distribution to a number of outlets across the county and far beyond and loss of this quantity of tobacco will have an impact on availability of illegal product,” he said.
Roger Mapleson, Trading Standards Lead at Wrexham Council, and Lead Officer for Tobacco for Trading Standards Wales, emphasised the public health implications of the illegal tobacco trade.
“Illegal tobacco is cigarettes or rolling tobacco that has been smuggled and where no duty has been paid. This means it can be sold for less than half the price of legitimate duty paid tobacco, creating a significant problem in our communities,” he said.
Investigations into the illegal tobacco trade in Wrexham and Flintshire continue. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com