Counterfeit tobacco worth £ 4,000 seized after raids on shops in Sandwell

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Commercial Standards seized around £ 4,000 of counterfeit tobacco from two Sandwell stores.

Raids were carried out by the Sandwell Council on stores in Oldbury and West Bromwich, in partnership with West Midlands Police.

A shipment of cigarette packets was found hidden in a salt bin.

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The local authority said the illegal tobacco trade was far-reaching, being part of a broader criminality such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and illegal production of alcohol.

Trade standards officers use dogs and test buyers for illegal tobacco products, which then enter the supply chain.

Councilor Bob Piper, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “We would never encourage anyone to buy tobacco products, but smoking counterfeit products is even worse than legally available products.

“You just can’t know what was used in their production and you also don’t know what this illegal activity is which could include organized crime, gangs and even human trafficking.

“I urge everyone to carefully check their purchases and let our Trade Standards team know if they suspect any illegal activity.”

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