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Cleveland Police has joined forces with Hartlepool Borough Council’s Trading Standards department in a joint operation targeting the sale of counterfeit and illicit tobacco.
A number of premises were targeted in the town using a specially trained dog unit that can recognise and identify counterfeit tobacco. A significant number of items were seized from one of those that were visited.
PC Geoff Coggin from Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “This joint operation saw us using specially trained search dogs to assist with our warrants and target those suspected of being involved with illicit tobacco.
“New search puppies Griff and Kevin also attended the warrants as trainees.
“We know the sale of illicit cigarettes causes harm in our communities and has links to organised crime. We would encourage anyone with information to speak to police on 101. Alternatively you can speak to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and you don’t even have to give your name.”
Ian Harrison, the Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing Manager said “The sale of illegal tobacco not only has a detrimental impact on local communities but it helps fund a number of other illegal activities whilst removing sales and income from genuine shops and suppliers.
“Hartlepool Trading Standards will continue to work with Cleveland Police to ensure businesses in the area comply with the law to ensure a level playing field for consumers and businesses alike.”
If you know of someone who selling illegal tobacco, you can report it to police on 101. Alternatively, you can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Hartlepool Trading Standards via 01429 523364 or [email protected]