£40,000 of illegal tobacco seized from five Sandwell shops
More than £40,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco have been seized across Sandwell during raids at six shops.
Police officers, sniffer dogs and trading standards officers from Sandwell Council raided the shops in the Bearwood, Blackheath and West Bromwich areas.
Illicit tobacco was found in five of the six shops, with a mixture of counterfeit and non-duty paid items.
Trading standards manager Bob Charnley said: "Some shops went to great lengths to hide the tobacco but the sniffer dogs found it."
A total of 632 pouches of hand-rolling tobacco and 2,887 packets of cigarettes were seized with a street value of £43,170 – with a loss of duty to the Government of £27,133.98.
Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for public health and protection, added: "I welcome these raids by trading standards and police, cracking down on unscrupulous traders who are undermining the hard work of law-abiding businesses by selling illicit goods.
"People may think they're getting a bargain when actually they could be putting their health at risk as they've no idea what's in these illicit goods."
The raids were carried as part of Sandwell's Safer 6 campaign. They were carried out on October 12 and 13 – and investigations are still on-going.