A local business in Dagenham has been caught selling illicit cigarettes after Trading Standards Officers received a tip off from a suspicious resident.
It was certainly bad luck for the business, located on Rainham Road South, last Friday (13 August) when officers raided the premises and found 10,800 illegal cigarettes, with a street value of more than £5000. The cigarettes were in batches of 20 and totalled 540 packets.
Officers became aware after a referral came through the Trading Standards Intelligence Database (IDB), alerting officers to the suspicion that the premises was supplying illicit tobacco.
The packets of cigarettes were contrary to the Tobacco Related Products Regulations 2016 and the Standardisation Packaging of Tobacco Product Regulations 2015, which means they were not in plain packaging and were without the appropriate health warnings in English.
After reviewing the cigarettes, officers determined that the majority of them were of Lithuanian and Bulgarian origin.
The supply of illicit, cheap, and counterfeit cigarettes is often linked to other organised crime, as well as taking revenue away from HM Revenue and Customs. The availability of cheap cigarettes also encourages smoking prevalence amongst young people and goes against the council’s tobacco control agenda and the government’s Tobacco Plan, which is aiming to reduce smoking to under 12% of the population by 2022, and 5% by 2030.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “We take matters like this very seriously and our enforcement officers will always follow up on all intelligence leads.
“Businesses have a responsibility to operate in a correct manner and if they’re not, we will investigate and take enforcement action. I am thankful to the tip off and will encourage residents to be vigilant and inform of us anything untoward.”
While a thorough investigation takes place, the business at this stage can’t be named.
If residents become aware similar matters, they should report them firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101.