Over 2,000 illegal cigarettes seized from Llanelli retail store

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Over 2,000 illegal cigarettes were seized in Llanelli as part of a major crackdown on the illegal tobacco trade.

The find in an anonymous retail store had a market value of £ 1,647 and was made by Carmarthenshire Trade Standards Officers as part of an ongoing national initiative called CeCe.

The operation is in partnership with Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to combat illegal tobacco sales.

Officers also discovered a kilogram of rolled tobacco and illegal drugs.

One million cigarettes with a market value of £ 200,000 were seized in raids across Wales.

The seized transport across Wales, which includes more than £ 1million of cigarettes and 3,377.6 packets of roll-your-own tobacco, has a total market value of almost £ 300,000.

Evidence has been found of illegal supplies of tobacco in 17 of Wales’ 22 local authority areas and seizures have taken place in 12 areas so far.

Carmarthenshire Council Public Protection Cabinet Member Cllr Philip Hughes said: “This money would have ended up in the pockets of criminal gangs and we will continue to take action against anyone who sells illegal tobacco.

“These criminal gangs not only profit from the sale of cheap tobacco, but they make their purchase more affordable for children and lead them to long-term addiction that could have devastating effects on their health.

“Our officers will continue to collect intelligence and we will take action against anyone caught selling illegal tobacco. “

Since the crackdown began in January 2021, Trading Standards and HMRC have gathered information on criminal tobacco gangs and are planning further raids across Wales in the coming months.

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In Wales, 8% of 15 and 16 year olds still smoke regularly, a figure that has not declined since 2013.

Around 6,000 children in Wales start to smoke each year and three in four of these children will become long-term smokers.

Smoking is an addiction that begins in childhood, a recent Action of Smoking and Health (ASH) survey in Wales found 76% of smokers in Wales have tried their first cigarette before the age of 18 .

Anyone who suspects someone of selling illegal tobacco can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit the website here.

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