A Burton shop was among a series of premises in Staffordshire raided by officers with sniffer dogs who seized a total of 33,000 illicit cigarettes and more than eight kilogrammes of illegal hand rolling tobacco.
Trading standards officers from Staffordshire County Council, who led the operation, raided shops in Burton, Tamworth and Rugeley.
As well as the cigarettes and tobacco, they also uncovered 13 litres of suspected non-duty duty vodka and around £1,000 in cash.
All of the premises were targeted as part of an intelligence-based operation to tackle illicit tobacco sales in the county. The operation was supported by officers from Staffordshire police.
The cigarettes which were found were suspected to have been illegally imported and supplied to the shops.
Gill Heath, the community’s leader at Staffordshire County Council, said: "Our trading standards team responded to intelligence and successfully disrupted the supply of potentially dangerous tobacco and cigarettes in Staffordshire.
"This is part of our ongoing operation to tackle the sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco. Counterfeit sales also damage businesses and can fund criminal gangs. We are always grateful to people who report suspected sale of illicit tobacco – the information they give really can make a difference.
"Some shop owners had gone to great lengths to conceal the illegal tobacco in secret compartments, false walls, ceilings and light fittings.
"Counterfeit tobacco is damaging to people's health and can undermine smoking cessation efforts as it is usually sold at a cheaper price. In addition, illicit cigarettes can be a fire risk as they do not self-extinguish when left to burn as legitimate cigarettes do.
"Far from being a victimless crime, illegal tobacco trade creates a cheap source for children and young people. While all tobacco is harmful, the illegal tobacco market, and in particular the availability of cheap cigarettes, makes it harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free.
"The loss to the taxpayer means less money being spent on local communities, schools and the NHS."
In many of the cases, the tobacco was found hidden in walls and in ceilings of the shops, which would have been difficult to find without the assistance of the specialist tobacco sniffer dogs.
Stuart Phillips, from the firm BWY Canine Limited, which provided some of the dogs used in the operation, said: "Tobacco detection dogs are the most accurate, reliable and quickest way of locating hidden illegal tobacco products.
"In the last five years our dogs - Yoyo, Scamp and Phoebe - have located over £12 million worth of illegal tobacco with over 104 trading standards teams across the United Kingdom.
"Using sniffer dogs to tackle illegal tobacco has become common practice across the United Kingdom for these operations."
Collin Singer, the managing director of Wagtail UK Limited, who also provided detection dogs added: "Sniffer dogs remain the quickest and most effective method of detecting a scent. Wagtail UK is delighted to have assisted Staffordshire County Council's trading standards team in another successful illegal tobacco enforcement operation.
"Buster and Indie are two of our top crime fighters and have detected hundreds of thousands of illegal cigarettes and tonnes of tobacco between them."
Anybody searching for more information regarding the sale of illicit tobacco can contact the trading standards team confidentially on 01785 330356.