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Crackdown sees £130k worth of fake cigarettes, phones and alcohol seized from Redbridge businesses

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:29 31 January 2019

Tobacco seized after a Redbridge Council crackdown on counterfeit goods. Photo: Redbridge Council

Tobacco seized after a Redbridge Council crackdown on counterfeit goods. Photo: Redbridge Council

Archant

More than £130,000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes, alcohol and mobile phones have been seized from businesses across the borough.

Redbridge Council teamed up with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate 20 properties on Wednesday, January 25, as part of a crackdown on illicit goods.

The “Day of Action” saw officers seize more than 10,000 cigarettes, 61 bottles of fake spirits, 8kg of illegal tobacco and 30 litres of wine worth a total £10,000.

They also confiscated 160 counterfeit mobile phones, valued at £120,000, as well as illegal medicines and £23,000 in cash.

Cllr Bob Littlewood, cabinet member for crime, safety and community cohesion, said: “We’re determined to protect our residents and action days like this stop dangerous and illegal products reaching customers.

“Sales of fake cigarettes, alcohol and other goods don’t just harm legitimate businesses but are often associated with criminal gangs who are stealing unpaid tax from the public purse.

“Our Trading Standards officers are working very hard and our tough action sends a clear message that we will crack down on the businesses and individuals that flout the law.”

A council spokeswoman could not confirm from which premises the loot was seized as investigations are ongoing.

Criminal networks are estimated to be making more than £100 million a year from the illegal tobacco trade in London, the spokeswoman added.

She said that they target young children, bring crime into local communities and undermine efforts to support smokers to quit.

Report businesses you suspect opf selling illegal products to Redbridge Trading Standards on 020 8708 5494.

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