West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Team has seized over 6000 illicit cigarettes from four shops in Worthing and Littlehampton.
The team also seized 8.4kg of rolling tobacco and 64 pouches of shisha tobacco. The total seizure has an estimated street value of £8,500.
The local operation was carried out as part of a national initiative between National Trading Standards and HMRC to tackle the illegal tobacco trade.
Assisting the operation were tobacco detection dogs from BWY Canine Ltd who discovered the products on the premises or in vehicles associated with the premises.
Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “As always, the partnership working between our Trading Standards colleagues and BWY Canine Ltd shows just how prevalent illicit cigarettes and tobacco are in West Sussex, and we encourage anyone who suspects an establishment of selling these kinds of products to report it to Trading Standards as soon as possible.
“However, this isn’t just a concern for law enforcement agencies. Our colleagues in Public Health also see the fall out that illicit smoking products have on people of all ages in the County, as the availability and typically lower price of illicit tobacco means it is easier to continue, relapse or even start smoking, which, as we all know, is harmful to our health.
“If anyone in West Sussex wants to quit as part of Stoptober, but doesn’t know where to start, there is free help and support available on the West Sussex Wellbeing website, which has lots of information, including how to find local Stop Smoking services, first steps on preparing to quit and information on products that can help you in your journey to stopping smoking.”
People who quit smoking will not only see an improvement in being able to move and breathe more easily, they will also save money. On average smokers spend £38.59 a week on tobacco, which means they could save around £2,000 a year by quitting.*
Members of the public in West Sussex who have information about the sale of illegal cigarettes or other illicit tobacco products in West Sussex can report it directly to Trading Standards via www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSreport.
Anyone who wants to give up smoking and participate in Stoptober can find out more by visiting www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk.
*Analysis by The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. 2022.