Police target illegal tobacco imports

CRIME: Crime scene.

CRIME: Crime scene.

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Nearly 100 packets of cigarettes and two kilogrammes of tobacco were seized as part of a multi-agency operation in Huddersfield targeting the sale of illegally imported tobacco products.

During the evening of Thursday, October 30, officers from Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team working with colleagues from HM Revenue & Customs, Kirklees Council licensing, UK Border Agency and Trading Standards visited five licensed premises in the town centre. Two of them - Wisla and 24 Hours Corner, both in John William Street - were found to have items for sale with foreign labelling.

Inspector Jon Dunkerley, of Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Often the sale of cheap, illegal tobacco is seen as a victimless crime. The truth is that a lot of these items are sold on the black market without any duty being paid and people are getting ripped off. There is also the issue that much of this is actually fraudulently branded and what is contained within is far more toxic and dangerous than legal cigarettes and tobacco.

“Robust action will be taken against anyone selling these items and I am pleased to say that this partnership operation has resulted in a significant amount of suspected illegal tobacco products being removed from sale.

“Those who hold a premises licence do so as a position of trust. Anyone who is not adhering to such a licence can expect an immediate review by all partner agencies and risk losing their licence as well as court action and a fine.”