Bumper haul of seized cigarettes up in smoke

Julie Middlehurst of Trading Standards with some of the seized tobacco
Julie Middlehurst of Trading Standards with some of the seized tobacco

THIS image shows the destruction of illegal tobacco products with a street value of £50,000 seized as part of a Wigan Council crackdown.

More than 129,000 illicit cigarettes and 2,000 pouches of tobacco were incinerated this week - the bounty of 12 raids by trading standards officers.

The haul came from eight businesses or shops and four private addresses.

It included more than 50,000 cigarettes and 10kg of tobacco seized from an address belonging to Ian Fitton of Maple Crescent, Leigh.

The 67-year-old has been handed a 12 week prison sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court in May to four charges of supplying counterfeit tobacco and incorrect labelling.

Wigan Council Trading Standards Manager Julie Middlehurst said: “Although the national picture of illegal tobacco has been reduced - as you can see, it’s still out there and there’s still work to do.

“Unregulated cigarettes make it easier for young children to buy them and we have seen examples of this in the borough.

“There is a real health risk as many of the packs are counterfeit that contain harmful products.

“We also want to protect our legitimate traders who may be losing out to others who are selling these items at a cheaper rate.

“Anyone who suspects that these products are being traded can contact us anonymously and help us stamp it out.”

To contact Wigan Trading Standards call 01942 827476 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.