Police seize over £100,000 of illegal and ‘potentially dangerous’ tobacco hidden in ‘James Bond’ style secret locations in Dewsbury
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Officers from the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT and West Yorkshire Trading Standards are continuing to investigate after seizing a high value haul of goods in a joint operation in Dewsbury on Monday, October 23.
Attending officers said they had been surprised by the lengths those involved had gone to in concealing their stash, with some hiding places being worthy of a “James Bond” style spy film.
They said in one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.
Another was hidden in a section of hinged false wall hidden behind a bathroom mirror which slid up within the frame it was in.
In addition to the tobacco, a number of illegal disposable vapes were seized, which contained more than the legal maximum of 2ml of liquid, around 600 puffs.
Sergeant Stuart Clarke of the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT, said: “We know that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime and, through this operation, West Yorkshire Trading Standards and Police have dealt a substantial blow to the criminals benefitting from the supply of illegal and illicit tobacco in communities.
“Through working together we removed in excess of £100,000 worth of illegal and potentially dangerous tobacco products. Investigations will continue to identify supply routes and Police Licensing Officers will consider breaches of the premises licence.”
On the methods used to store the illegal products, Sergeant Clarke added: “Some of the premises had hidden the tobacco in specially designed hides, reminiscent of James Bond style gadgets.
“In one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.”
The operation was the latest in a series of raids by police and trading standards in Kirklees to clamp down on illegal and counterfeit goods sales.
In August, police and trading standards officers seized 12,000 cigarettes, four kg of hand rolling tobacco and 4,500 vapes with a retail value of £45,000 in an operation in Huddersfield.
It is also known that proceeds from the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes can be used to fund organised criminal enterprise.
Anyone with information about the supply of illicit tobacco is asked to contact Trading Standards Confidential reporting system at www.keep-it-out.co.uk or via independent crime prevention charity Crime Stoppers on 0800555111.