In a scene reminiscent of a spy thriller, law enforcement authorities have discovered a cache of illegal tobacco valued at thousands of pounds, concealed within craftily designed hidden hatches in Huddersfield. The Huddersfield Town Centre Team and West Yorkshire Trading Standards are actively pursuing investigations following the discovery of numerous illicit cigarette packets and vapes behind a deceptive wall in a local retailer on January 11.

This recent seizure comes on the heels of a previous discovery in Dewsbury last October, where over £100,000 worth of clandestinely stowed illegal and potentially hazardous tobacco was found. The contraband from these raids was ingeniously hidden in various locations, including a hinged wall concealed behind a bathroom mirror and a secret cupboard camouflaged behind a false fuse board.

During the latest operation in Huddersfield, law enforcement officers uncovered illegal materials concealed behind a false wall, with access facilitated through a covertly controlled electrical hatch. A total of 144 cigarette packets, 231 illegal vapes, and sizable quantities of rolling tobacco were seized in the operation.

Over the past 12 months, police and trading standards officers have successfully recovered substantial amounts of illicit tobacco and vape products through a series of strategic operations. It is well-established that the proceeds from the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes often contribute to funding organised criminal enterprises.

Inspector Mark Pattinson of Kirklees Police said: “People may see the sale of illegal cigarettes as not as harmful as other types of criminality, but it is well proven that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime.

“These illegal products can also be more harmful to public health due to lack of regulation and testing and it is important we act to restrict their sales.

“In this latest operation officers discovered a significant quantity of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes inside the premises which the owners had attempted to conceal within a false wall, with access gained via a disguised electrically controlled hatch.

He added: “All of the illegal items were seized by trading standards and will be destroyed. None of us want to see organised crime in our neighbourhoods and I encourage residents to keep contacting us with any information which can help us disrupt criminal activity and the sale of illegal goods.

“Reports can be given to the Trading Standards Confidential reporting system at www.keep-it-out.co.uk or via independent crime prevention charity Crime Stoppers on 0800555111”