H&F shop raids uncover £2,000 of illegal tobacco

A lightning raid of 14 local shops bagged more than £2,000 worth of dodgy tobacco, say Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

Cigarettes, rolling tobacco and shisha tobacco were seized in a series of raids – which saw sniffer dogs uncover the illegal tobacco found hidden in false ceilings and cabinets in eight of the 14 shops raided across Hammersmith & Fulham and neighbouring areas.

“Illegal tobacco can contain even more harmful substances and have been known to contain dangerous chemicals and even rat droppings,” a H&F Council spokesman said.

“The illegal trade costs taxpayers about £2billion per year in lost revenue and is known to fund organised crime networks and criminal gangs.”

The raid was part of Operation Henry, the first large-scale Trading Standards investigation of its kind locally to tackle illegal tobacco.

Some of the tobacco was counterfeited, while the rest did not show health warnings and other legally required information on packets, such as whether duty had been paid.

Market share of illicit cigarettes has dropped from 21 per cent to nine per cent in the last decade, according to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, which represents trading standards bodies across the UK. 

Anyone worried about illegal tobacco being sold in their area can email trading.standards@lbhf.gov.uk or call 020 8753 1081.