A tip-off to Trading Standards led to nearly 3,000 suspected smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes being seized from an off-licence in Banbury last Sunday.
The raid follows a number of high-profile actions taken by Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team as part of their fight to reduce the availability of dangerous contraband tobacco across the county.
Illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking, as it is sold at cheap prices, and it also makes communities more attractive to criminals, who may have links to organised crime groups.
There are also fire safety implications as counterfeit cigarettes do not comply with legal requirements designed to reduce the chances of unattended lit cigarettes starting a fire. Smoking is a major cause of fire fatalities.
Jody Kerman operations manager, Trading Standards at Oxfordshire County Council said: “We are very grateful to the public or businesses who provide the intelligence that is vital to help us tackle the illegal tobacco trade.
"Anyone with concerns can report them anonymously online to Trading Standards at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or call the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999.”
She added: “The sale of illegal tobacco not only cheats the public purse, it also undermines legitimate businesses in Oxfordshire and puts money into the hands of criminals deliberately flouting the law."