NEARLY 4,000 illegal cigarettes were seized from a Swadlincote store during a trading standards raid.
Officers swooped on the shop, which has not been named, as part of a huge operation to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods, with five kilogrammes of tobacco also unearthed.
The majority of the illicit products were stashed in concealed storage areas, including behind false shelving panels and sinks, and were found thanks to the detective work of police sniffer dogs.
In total, the haul is estimated to be worth around £3,000, with police making one arrest.
The county’s force said the store would not be named until the investigation had been completed.
Derbyshire County Council said the latest operation was a signal of its intent to stamp out the sale of banned cigarettes and tobacco, which are either counterfeit, and potentially harmful, or have had no duty paid on them.
The authority’s health and communities chief Dave Allen said: “We’re sending out a clear message to shopkeepers that we will not tolerate illegal trading.
“We’re standing up for legitimate local traders whose businesses are being damaged by these shops selling illicit tobacco cheaply and consumers who face increased risks from counterfeit goods which are not checked or regulated.”
Detective Inspector Henry Dick, of Derbyshire Police, said: “We’re keen to continue to support county council trading standards officers in their vital investigations into the sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco.
“Their work in this area is essential to help us combat organised criminality which is very lucrative and we’ll continue to offer any support that will disrupt this activity.”