Illegal product raids in Calderdale sees 9,500 cigarettes and alcohol seized by trading standards

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A multi agency operation involving West Yorkshire Trading Standards saw Calderdale businesses searched in which illegal practices were taking place.

Operation Maltese, was executed in five premises across the borough and saw trading standards officers, West Yorkshire Police, British Gas Revenue Protection, Calderdale Licensing and tobacco detection dogs from Wagtail UK search the buildings.

The operation resulted in a seizure of more than 9500 cigarettes and 34.6kg of hand rolling tobacco.

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If genuine, the value of the cigarettes seized would be over £4800 and the hand rolling tobacco more than £17,000 bringing the total value of the goods seized to be over £22,000.

Illegal cigarette products and alcohol have been seized in CalderdaleIllegal cigarette products and alcohol have been seized in Calderdale
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Officers from Calderdale Council licensing department seized a large quantity of alcohol from a business whose licence had been revoked in 2018.

The alcohol was concealed in cupboards behind the counter and in the storage area. Receipts were found for recent purchases of the alcohol from a local cash and carry.

Councillor Steve Sweeney, Member of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said “All tobacco – both legal and illegal – kills half of all long term smokers. We know that most smokers want to give up smoking but their quit attempts are really undermined if somebody offers them a cheap supply of tobacco. It’s also really worrying that children are being targeted by unscrupulous dealers.

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Operation Maltese was part of a wider plan to crack down on criminality in Calderdale. The operation targeted hot spot areas and businesses identified from intelligence and complaints passed to West Yorkshire Trading Standards by members of the public.

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The inspections were part of The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme that is funded by the five Public Health authorities in West Yorkshire.

To date the programme has taken more than five million illegal cigarettes and over one tonne of illegal hand rolling tobacco off the streets.