Thousands of illegal cigarettes seized by Hackney Council in Hoxton shop raid

Sniffer dog Pippa with the illegal tobacco find. Picture: Hackney Council

Sniffer dog Pippa with the illegal tobacco find. Picture: Hackney Council - Credit: hackney council

Trading standards officers from Hackney Council seized 13,700 cigarettes in a raid on a Hoxton shop last month as part of a clampdown on illegal tobacco.

The discovery was made with the help of sniffer dog Pippa, who found the cigarettes stashed away alongside 129 illegal packets of loose tobacco in a sink unit under the shop's chocolate bar stand.

The shop owner is now facing prosecution for the sale of illegal tobacco, which is completely unregulated, and often sold much cheaper than legal tobacco.

Being able to buy tobacco cheaply makes it harder for some smokers to quit, and easier for children and young people to start smoking and get hooked at a young age.

The council is holding an illegal tobacco road show on Tuesday from 10am to 4pm at Tesco in Morning Lane, where residents can find out why illegal tobacco is a problem and how to report premises that sell it.

Trading standards and public health officers will be doing surveys with the public to find out how much people know about the illegal trade and their attitudes towards it.

The council's safety chief, Cllr Caroline Selman, said: "Illegal tobacco is heavily linked with organised crime and harms businesses who are trading legally.

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"We're working hard to crack down on businesses selling illegal tobacco who will face action if they are caught."