An operation focused on businesses suspected of selling illicit tobacco and vaping products to children in Huddersfield has led to the confiscation of over £40,000 worth of such items.
The West Yorkshire Trading Standards, in collaboration with officers from the Huddersfield Town Centre Team, are currently engaged in an ongoing investigation subsequent to a combined effort that resulted in the seizure of a substantial amount of products in Huddersfield earlier this August.
Several shops suspected of participating in the unlawful trade of cigarettes and vaping products, along with selling these items to underage individuals, were subject to searches by the authorities.
During the operation, law enforcement and trading standards officials successfully seized a total of 12,000 cigarettes, four kilograms of loose rolling tobacco, and 4,500 vapes. The estimated retail value of these seized goods amounts to £45,000.
This operation constitutes one in a series of similar actions taken over the past months in Kirklees, targeting businesses suspected of engaging in the illicit distribution of goods.
Modifications in legislation implemented last year have resulted in vaping products being subject to specific limitations in terms of capacity and nicotine concentration. Authorities were well aware that non-compliant devices were circulating within the market.
Furthermore, it is established that the proceeds generated from the illicit sale of tobacco and vaping products can be funnelled into supporting organised criminal activities.
Sergeant Amanda Holroyd, the Kirklees Town Centre Partnership sergeant, said: “ “Illegal tobacco and vapes worth well over £100,000 have now been recovered by officers from our team and West Yorkshire Trading Standards over the last 12 months and this latest operation has again resulted in very significant seizures.
“The sale of such products is a real cause of concern for residents, especially when we know they may not meet UK standards and are suspected of being sold to children
“We know cash from the sale of such goods can often be used to directly fund organised crime so it is important we do all we can to cut off sources of funding for serious criminality which can blight communities.
She added: “We would urge anyone with information regarding the illicit tobacco and Vape trade in Kirklees to contact the Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team via 101 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat or contact West Yorkshire Trading Standards direct.
Information can also always be given to the independent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”