Illegal tobacco with a high street value of thousands of pounds has been seized in raids as part of a crack down on shops suspected of selling counterfeit goods.
Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards team joined forces with Derbyshire Police and Home Office immigration officers to swoop on two shops in Ilkeston and Swadlincote.
More than 8,000 cigarettes and 8.2 kilograms of tobacco, estimated at having a street value of £6,400, was recovered.
Three men were arrested and bailed pending further enquiries and two shop workers who were quizzed by immigration officers were also found to be illegal .
Cabinet member for health and communities at Derbyshire County Council, Cllr Dave Allen said: “We’re sending out a clear message to shopkeepers that we will not tolerate illegal trading and we’ll continue working with the police to crack down on it.
“We’re standing up for legitimate local traders whose businesses are being damaged by illicit tobacco being sold cheaply and consumers who face increased risks from counterfeit goods which are not checked or regulated.”
The majority of allegedly counterfeit goods were hidden in storage areas, which included false panels behind shelving and under a sink unit, They were found by specialist sniffer dogs.
As part of the ongoing crackdown, over the last 12 months, trading standards officers and police have carried out raids across 20 premises countywide, seizing more than 800,000 illegal cigarettes and 794,833 kg of illegal tobacco.