Newsagents’ hidden haul of illegal cigarettes

A raid on a Liverpool newsagent’s shop found illegal cigarettes hidden in a Health Lottery stand.

And in another shop a false electricity panel was used to conceal the cigarettes.

The raids were carried out by officers from the city council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit using a specially trained sniffer dog.

At S.A Mohammed’s , in Aigburth Road, 4.85 kilograms of tobacco and 740 cigarettes worth a sale value of £1750, were found in a cardboard stand promoting the health lottery.

At City News in Smithdown Road, a total of 1920 cigarettes, with a retail value, of £720, were found hidden behind a false socket and fuse box.

Both premises had previously had illegal cigarettes confiscated but were suspected of continuing to trade in them.

Councillor Tim Moore, city council cabinet member, said: “These two shops had gone to some lengths to conceal these cigarettes. They must have known full well that what they were doing was illegal.Health Lottery promo Stand with concealed counterfeit Golden Virginia
“Illicit cigarettes not only damage health but are a threat to legitimate businesses. We will do all we can to tackle this trade for the good of our communities.”

Dr Paula Grey, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health said “All tobacco products are harmful, whether they’re bought legitimately from a retailer or illegally from unlicensed sellers. They both contain over 4,000 chemicals, at least 60 of which are cancer causing, contributing to our high levels of lung cancer, and other tobacco related diseases. 

“Added to this, illegal tobacco isn’t regulated so its content and where it comes from are often unknown. The illegal tobacco trade also makes it easier for children to start smoking, and takes advantage of cash-strapped families.”

The cigarettes and tobacco have been seized and a report will be submitted which may result in legal proceedings being instigated.