Illicit cigarettes and tobacco with a retail value of more than £40,000 have been seized this week by West Sussex Trading Standards.
Investigations are continuing into the illicit tobacco supply chain after the seizure on Monday (25 June) in Worthing.
Two commercial storage units in the town linked to the investigation have been inspected and a total of 3,529 packets of cigarettes and 180 pouches of tobacco were seized.
According to the Trading Standards team, the illicit cigarettes and tobacco have an approximate retail price of £40,492.40. They estimate a street value of £20,246.20.
Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “The swift actions of our trading standards officers prevented a potentially dangerous outcome as these counterfeit goods are not checked and regulated – posing a significant risk to the consumer.
“Following on from this large seizure, we are warning anyone involved in the trade of illegal tobacco that West Sussex Trading Standards will take action against them, including legal action if necessary.”
Richard Sargeant, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “We are encouraging people to remain vigilant and to report the sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes. Its easy availability and apparent bargain often results in children and young people being targeted by dishonest traders.”
Anyone with information about illegal goods can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or can report details online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSreport.