A series of raids on Luton shops have uncovered eight selling illegal cigarettes.
Luton Borough Council Trading Standards, and revenue and customs raided nine shops in total.
Three had already been caught selling illegal cigarettes last September in a similar operation.
Around 12,500 cigarettes, 12kg of tobacco and quantities of counterfeit and non-UK duty paid alcohol and snuff were seized with an estimated market value of £9,000. Officers discovered one premises completely crammed with stock, including microwaves on the shop floor stuffed with cigarettes found by a sniffer dog. Officers also seized dangerous skin bleaching creams.
Gerry Taylor, Director of Public Health at the council, said: “This is a good example of excellent partnership working between the Council and HMRC to stop this illegal and irresponsible trade.”
“But it is worrying that after a similar crackdown last September, we have again found illegal products on sale, with some shop owners continuing to flout the law even after being caught before.
“We are also concerned that we have again found unsafe skin bleaching cosmetics on sale.”
If you have good reason to believe illegal goods are being sold in Luton, please call 08454 04 05 06 with as many details as possible.
>For more information on illegal tobacco and support on stopping smoking, see www.tobaccofreeluton.co.uk