£55,000 worth of illegal tobacco products seized in Leyland

Illicit products including cigarettes and disposable vapes, which, if sold as genuine, would be worth £55,000, have been seized in South Ribble as part of Operation Centurion.

Officers from South Ribble’s Neighbourhood Policing Team assisted Trading Standards and re-visited one store in the Leyland area this week, discovering 1611 packs of illicit tobacco products.

Back in November, the same store was visited, and 1800 items were seized, including £5,000 in cash. This means that the store owners will be investigated by Trading Standards with a view to prosecution.

Sgt Angela Atkinson, from South Ribble’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are committed to making communities feel safer and better places to live and work and we will always work closely with the community to ensure we achieve this and to tackle this activity which can often lead to anti-social behaviour in neighbouring areas.

“This was a great seizure and sends out a strong message that we are cracking down and tackling the sale of illegal and counterfeit items. Operations like this will continue.”

Trading Standards Officer Dawn Robinson said: "Our Trading Standards team joined forces with the police to undertake vital community work.

"By seizing 1611 illegal packs of cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco and vapes from a well-organised Leyland business, which had a purpose-built store-room, coded lists and a chute for illegal goods, we made our local community safer for children, as the sale of these items encourages addiction.

"We will not tolerate the exploitation of Lancashire's young people by unscrupulous businesses and will continue to take robust action against them.

"We thank the public for their support and would welcome further reports of anything suspicious to our Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133."

Operation Centurion is a countywide crackdown on anti-social behaviour, led by Lancashire Constabulary and backed by the Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden, delivering his Fighting Crime Plan priority of getting tough on anti-social behaviour, with the support of partners.

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