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Gloucestershire Business News

£60k raid is wake up call for illegal tobacco suppliers

Four men were woken from their beds during trading standards' biggest ever raid on illegal tobacco.

They said illegal tobacco worth approximately £26,500, plus an estimated £13,000 in cash were seized from one flat, and a further £12,000 worth of illegal tobacco and an estimated £8,000 in cash were taken from a second flat. This is the largest quantity of illegal tobacco seized in the county.

Almost no attempt was made to hide the tobacco, the majority of which was in plain sight in open boxes in the living rooms and wardrobes. This suggests regular, easy access was needed to re-stock local shops. There was also a further stash of tobacco in the bottom of a sofa, and money hidden inside a cushion of a chair.

The men were described as being 'shocked' upon being woken by the team of trading standards and police officers. One man tried to resist arrest, but all four are now helping officers with their enquiries.

Both properties had been under surveillance by trading standards and are believed to be part of a wider network involved in supplying illegal tobacco across Gloucestershire.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said: "Another excellent result for trading standards and colleagues at Gloucestershire police. Illegal tobacco is a serious health risk to consumers, and the county council takes a no-nonsense approach to stamping it out in our county."

Andy Hermiston, head of trading standards said: "We have stepped up our surveillance of illegal tobacco trading in Gloucestershire. This is our biggest seizure so far; we continue to work towards breaking the cycle of organised crime."

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