Huge haul of illegal cigarettes

 A raid on a city centre shop found tens of thousands of illegal cigarettes hidden in a concealed roof space.

The raid by members of the city council’s Alcohol and Tobacco unit discovered the illicit tobacco at the Marmaris store in London Road.

They seized 67,000 cigarettes, worth about £25,000, in packets with foreign labels

The haul was so large it filled a Mercedes Vito van.

When interviewed the shop owner claimed he was just “helping poor people who could not afford to smoke.”

Councillor Roz Gladden, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “This is not a Robin Hood act which will benefit poor people. This is a criminal trade and the only people who profit from it are those who deal in these lethal items and this type of criminal operation clearly undermines legitimate traders in the City.’

“We have an enormous problem with cancer in the city and the trade in illegal cigarettes has made a major contribution to that. We will continue to do all we can to stamp it out.”

Helen Casstles, Smokefree Liverpool coordinator at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, said: “Smoking is the biggest single cause of health inequalities in the UK but the price of cigarettes has a major effect on cigarette consumption and is directly related to helping people quit.

Hidden Cigarettes“There is considerable evidence that smuggled tobacco is targeted at the most vulnerable groups, i.e. young people and those on low incomes and hampers quit attempts. Stopping this illicit supply will protect our children and reduce the gap in health between rich and poor.”
The seized cigarettes will be destroyed and a prosecution is being considered.e that smuggled tobacco is targeted at the most vulnerable groups, i.e. young people and those on low incomes and hampers quit attempts. Stopping this illicit supply will protect our children and reduce the gap in health between rich and poor.”