£28k worth of illegal tobacco seized from containers and shops during raids

The haul of cigarettes and tobacco seized from containers near Chrisp Street Market

The haul of cigarettes and tobacco seized from containers near Chrisp Street Market - Credit: Tower Hamlets Council

More than £28,000 worth of illegal tobacco - including over 64,000 cigarettes - has been seized during two days of raids.

Trading standards officers from Tower Hamlets Council used sniffer dogs to uncover the counterfeit and illicit tobacco in containers and shops.

The biggest haul was found in containers near Chrisp Street Market, where the council say it seized 40,940 illicit cigarettes, 23,680 counterfeit cigarettes and hand-rolled and smuggled tobacco.

Some of the cigarettes were hidden in boxes pretending to contain children's toys

Some of the cigarettes were hidden in boxes pretending to contain children's toys - Credit: Tower Hamlets Council

Cllr Kabir Hussain, lead member for environment and climate, said: "Illegal and counterfeit tobacco are a real issue in our community, and we must work together to stamp it out.

"I encourage everyone to report any suspected sales to our Trading Standards team so we can take the appropriate action and keep our communities safe."

Cigarettes hidden in a footstall

Cigarettes hidden in a footstall - Credit: Tower Hamlets Council

The operation also targeted shops illegally selling vape liquid and nitrous oxide.

Around 200 bottles of a type of vaping liquid banned in the UK due to its strength were removed.

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Officers also seized 26 1.5kg cylinders and 250 canisters of nitrous oxide - commonly known as laughing gas - which can cause suffocation or permanent nerve damage.

Email tradingstandards@towerhamlets.gov.uk to report someone selling illegal tobacco, vaping liquids or nitrous oxide.

Sniffer dogs Pippa and Rex with counterfeit and illicit tobacco found in containers near Chrisp Street Market

Sniffer dogs Pippa and Rex with counterfeit and illicit tobacco found in containers near Chrisp Street Market - Credit: Tower Hamlets Council