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Thousands of cigarettes seized in illicit tobacco trade clampdown

Published on:

21 February 2018

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A borough-wide crackdown on the sale of illicit tobacco has resulted in thousands of cigarettes being confiscated and five premises in Enfield facing the risk of losing their licence.

- Enfield Council officers made surprise visits to 23 premises
- Five premises were found to be selling untaxed products
- The sale of illicit tobacco can support organised crime in your borough
 
A borough-wide crackdown on the sale of illicit tobacco has resulted in thousands of cigarettes being confiscated and five premises in Enfield facing the risk of losing their licence.
 
Enfield Council’s Licensing Enforcement Team, Police Licensing Officers, a dog handler and dogs from Wagtail International carried out unannounced visits on 23 licensed premises over a three-day period in January. HMRC also accompanied officers on one of the visits.
 
Illicit tobacco products where duty had not been paid were found during the raids at five of the shops and 296 packets of cigarettes were seized – a total of 5,920 cigarettes. Hand-rolling tobacco was also taken away.
 
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: “While not paying the necessary tax on cigarettes might seem fairly harmless, we have to consider the bigger picture here. Duty-evaded and counterfeit tobacco products can be more dangerous than legal products.

“Illicit tobacco also has strong links with criminal gangs who are often associated with people-smuggling, drug dealing and money laundering – it is certainly not a victimless crime. In addition, those dealing in illicit tobacco are also likely to sell to younger people who cannot legally buy tobacco and the health warnings we have come to expect on packaging are often missing from these products, which is a sure giveaway.
 
“This targeted work involving Enfield Council officers will help to protect the health and well-being of our residents for safer, stronger communities. In the meantime, if anyone has information on illicit tobacco products being sold in the borough, they should get in touch.”
 
Enfield’s Licensing Enforcement Officers are in the process of checking the history of each of the premises found to be selling illicit products. They will carry out full licence inspections before deciding what action will be taken. Licences could be revoked and warning letters as to future conduct will be issued.
 
Residents who have any information relating to illicit tobacco should email trading.standards@enfield.gov.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.