Oxfordshire shops on track to become free of illegal tobacco

Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team encouraged by the success of its stop illegal tobacco campaign as it nears the fourth anniversary of its launch.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 10:00 am
Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team encouraged by the success of its stop illegal tobacco campaign as it nears the fourth anniversary of its launch.
Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team encouraged by the success of its stop illegal tobacco campaign as it nears the fourth anniversary of its launch.

Cllr Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “These are tremendous successes in our quest to remove illegal tobacco from shops and streets. We know the vast majority of retailers are honest and only sell legitimate products, and we thank them for their support.

“The aim is to reduce overall prevalence of smoking to less than one in 20 people by 2025 and, in doing so, achieve our vision to inspire the first smoke free generation in Oxfordshire. But we won’t be sitting on our hands – the team will continue to do periodic spot checks using sniffer dogs, as we turn our focus to other methods of supply, including online and through social media.”

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s head of trading standards, said: "In the last few weeks we have completed 15 covert test purchase attempts and used tobacco detection dogs to inspect 22 premises. While we had two seizures in May and investigations are ongoing, both those premises have since been revisited and are now in compliance.

“No illegal tobacco was detected during any of the other test purchases and inspections. At the moment, at least, it seems like Oxfordshire’s shops are free of illegal tobacco.”

Do you agree that Oxfordshire’s shops are free of illegal tobacco? If not, you can report information anonymously by calling 0300 999 6 999 or visit stop-illegal-tobacco.co.ukDuring that period the team has made the following actions as part of the campaign:

Completed:

- 37 successful covert test purchases

- 36 separate seizures of illegal-tobacco products.

Seized:

- 94,480 illegal cigarettes

- 16,750 grams of illegal hand-rolling tobacco

- 115,220 grams of illegal shisha tobacco.

Brought 16 successful prosecutions (with four more pending), including:

- Custodial sentences totalling 66 months (26 months of which was suspended)

- Over £21,000 in prosecution costs awarded

- £95,000 in confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Brought five licence reviews resulting in:

- Over 50 additional conditions added to premises’ licences

- Licence suspensions totalling 24 weeks

- Revoking one licence.