Illegal tobacco found inside speakers and under floorboards

The tobaco was hidden in a speaker

The tobaco was hidden in a speaker - Credit: Archant

Trading Standards officers have seized hundreds of packets of illegal tobacco from four shops, which were hidden under the floorboards, inside the speaker and even in a fridge.

Inspections were carried out at six premises including a kebab shop, where there had been complaints that illicit tobacco was being sold.

In total the officers found 227 illegal packets of 20 Marlborough Gold and 130 illegal packets of 50g packets of Golden Virginia rolling tobacco.

Illicit tobacco usually has no picture warnings or tar and nicotine content and it is not regulated so its content and where it comes from are often unknown.

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sophie Linden, said: “Illegal cigarettes cost around £5 a pack – almost half the price of legal tobacco.

“Cheaper cigarettes can make it easier for children to start smoking and for others to keep up their deadly habit.

“People buying these cigarettes have no way of knowing what else has been added to the tobacco.”

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Tobacco products - legal or otherwise - contain over 4,000 chemicals, at least 60 of which are known to trigger cancer.

Counterfeit cigarettes can contain higher levels of nicotine, more harmful carbon monoxide and can incorporate an unhealthy mix of chemicals including arsenic, cadmium, benzene and formaldehyde.

The shop owners face further action, including being taken to court, depending on whether they have committed previous offences and on the amounts of tobacco found.

In some circumstances their tobacco sale licence will be reviewed and it could be taken away.

Around 25 per cent of Hackney’s population smokes, compared to 20 per cent nationally and smoking is the biggest cause of early deaths in the borough.