Thousands of illegal cigarettes seized and man arrested in Grimsby

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More than 10,000 cigarettes were seized and a man arrested during a trading standards led operation against illicit tobacco dealing in Grimsby.

A magnetic hatch was found at a Freeman Street shop that led to a hiding space in a suspended ceiling where there were traces to show unlawful products had been stored.

Trading standards officers were joined by colleagues from Humberside Police and sniffer dog handlers BWY Canine as they visited two shops in Freeman Street, a home on the Willows estate and a shop and nearby property in Immingham.

Illicit cigarettes were hidden in a secret compartment in the ceiling

A man had to be stopped by police after he was spotted running out the back of a Freeman Street shop carrying a large holdall of illicit tobacco products. Officers also searched a nearby car and found more contraband in the boot.

More illicit cigarettes and rolling tobacco were found hidden in the boot of another car at an home on the Willows.

In total 10,080 illicit cigarettes were seized (of which 4,000 were counterfeit) and 17.4 kg of rolling tobacco (of which 1.3kg was counterfeit).

The haul has a street value of £4,800 and legitimate would cost £11,478 to buy legitimately. A man was arrested during the operation for an outstanding court warrant.

Councillor Hazel Chase, cabinet member responsible for public protection at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “Wednesday’s operating brings the total number of cigarettes seized to 612,088 since our clampdown started in 2014.

“In that time we’ve also seized 653.138kg and secured 11 convictions in court. The total street value of the product seized is £217,687 and would cost £528,859 to be the legitimate equivalent.”

Inspector Neil Pattison from Humberside Police said: “If you have information about offenders selling counterfeit or illicit tobacco products in your community report it now.”

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