THOUSANDS of illegal cigarettes have been seized in Leamington.
Police, trading standards officers and a sniffer dog team swooped on several shops acting in the search for non-duty paid cigarettes and tobacco.
Over 23,400 suspected illicit cigarettes and 4500g of hand rolling tobacco was found hidden in two vehicles parked behind one shop.
Warwickshire County Council safety spokesman Coun John Horner said: “The sellers of illegal cigarettes don’t care who they sell to, making it easier for children and young people to obtain cigarettes and get hooked on smoking.
“Cheap illegal cigarettes also threaten the livelihoods of honest and genuine businesses and rob the taxpayer of money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.
“Warwickshire Trading Standards is taking this action to both protect the health of Warwickshire’s young people and support legitimate business.”
And Warwickshire Police chief constable, Martin Jelley said he was pleased with the outcome of the operation.
He added: “It’s an excellent example of how our special constabulary is working in partnership with trading standards to take action against the sellers of illegal cigarettes in order to support genuine local businesses and protect the health of our community.”
Warwickshire Trading Standards will not be naming the store while investigations are ongoing.
Anyone with information about counterfeit goods and illegal cigarettes should call the trading standards fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.