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Ezee pickings as cops seize £6,000 of illegal tobacco

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: October 17, 2012

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FAKE and smuggled tobacco with an estimated retail value of £6,000 has been seized from a shop in Burton.

Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team led a joint operation with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Staffordshire Police.

The tobacco included 12,000 cigarettes and 6.5 kilogrammes of hand rolling tobacco.

It is estimated there would have been a revenue loss of £5,000 if the goods had been sold at the Ezee shop, in Horninglow Road North.

The council launched a Fight the Fakes campaign in August to help take potentially harmful counterfeit products like tobacco and alcohol out of circulation.

Pat Corfield, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Our trading standards team, together with colleagues from the police and HMRC, acted promptly to ensure these products were taken out of circulation.

“The sale of counterfeit goods harms communities and potentially endangers public health. It also has a detrimental impact on businesses which work legitimately and on taxpayers generally.

Money made through the sale of counterfeit goods usually helps to fund organised criminal gangs.

“This operation sends out a strong message that we will not tolerate criminal activity and that the county council will do all it can to protect Staffordshire people and businesses.”

Inspector Tyrone Kerr, of East Staffordshire Borough Local Policing Team, said: “This joint operation forms part of our continued commitment, working with trading standards and HMRC, to crack down on counterfeit goods being sold in our communities.

“The public should be mindful that they will ultimately lose out by buying illegal products. They are often of very poor quality and can contain harmful materials.

“Anyone with information should contact Staffordshire Police on 101.

“Alternatively, they can ring independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.”

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