Sniffer dogs to meet the public in 'illicit cigarette' roadshow at Poplar's Chrisp Street Market
PUBLISHED: 16:09 16 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 16 July 2018
A campaign to stub out the trade in illicit tobacco has been ignited by Tower Hamlets Council with a roadshow touring the East End.
Dogs used for sniffing out illegal tobacco when trading standards officers inspect corner shops are meeting the public at Poplar’s Chrisp Street market on Wednesday.
The ‘illegal tobacco’ roadshow by the council’s trading standards team and their canine helpers are handing out the message to watch for smuggled tobacco and fake cigarettes sold under the counter.
“It’s being sold cheaply but has particular health risks,” Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs warned. “We have a ‘zero’ tolerance to the illegal tobacco trade that often funds other crimes.”
The council signed up to a campaign last year with a road show urging the public to ‘shop’ dodgy traders selling hookey cigarettes.
This was followed by a series of raids to disrupt the illicit trade. The latest raids were in a two-day operation last month that uncovered £8,000 of illegal tobacco which was seized, consisting of 12,360 cigarettes, 2,250g of hand-rolling tobacco and 68 pots of chewing tobacco, all hidden in cereal boxes, coat pockets and behind display panels.
Officers found illegal products in 10 of the 18 premises that were swept in the operation.
Illicit tobacco is manufactured legally abroad, but has been smuggled into Britain avoiding duty. More dangerous are counterfeits manufactured illegally and sold using a legitimate trademark, despite no connection to the brand name.
Wednesday’s roadshow returning after last year’s success runs from 10am until 5pm.