Swindon Trading Standards and Wiltshire Police have been praised for delivering “a fantastic result” says the South West’s Illegal Tobacco officer.
Ben Hayes, who has been in the regional post for the last three years, praised the work of officers that saw the seizure of over £60,000 on tobacco from a residential address in Swindon.
He said, “This is a fantastic result and we commend the police and Swindon Trading Standards for the swift action taken in the seizure. A significant amount of illegal tobacco (counterfeit) has been recovered, preventing organised criminal groups profiting from its sale which would fund other criminality.”
The action by officers happened thanks to information provided by members of the public – something that was praised by Insp Barry Reed in the coverage from ITV – which can be found here https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2020-08-07/more-than-60000-worth-of-counterfeit-cigarettes-discovered-at-property-in-swindon
A 41-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of possession of counterfeit goods and money laundering.
A search of a nearby house was then carried out where more cigarettes and tobacco were found.
“This was an excellent seizure by Wiltshire Police with whom Swindon Trading Standards has a good working partnership when tackling the issue of illicit cigarettes and tobacco within Swindon,” states Ben Downing, Team Leader of Trading Standards at Swindon Borough Council.
He added, “We shall continue to work with our partners in order to stop this illegal activity.”
South West Illegal Tobacco works closely with a number of Local Authorities in the South West and other enforcement agencies raising awareness of the issues the sale of illegal tobacco has on society and associated criminality it causes.
Members of the public are encouraged to report the sale and supply of illegal tobacco via their reporting website, which can be found at www.swillegaltobacco.info
Hayes, continued, “People are often unaware that they have crucial information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco.”
“Sometimes this information is the missing piece of the jigsaw that we desperately need. It’s not just a tax thing, think about what your money is really supporting behind the scenes.” “Any information reported to us is treated in the strictest of confidence and you will not be identified.”
You can report suspected illegal tobacco sales on our dedicated website, anonymously, at www.swillegaltobacco.info