Thousands of illegal cigarettes and alcohol seized in raids in Great Yarmouth and Norwich
PUBLISHED: 11:08 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:25 16 January 2020
More than 17,000 cigarettes and some £10,000 worth of alcohol have been seized following a multi-agency swoop in two locations in Norfolk.
The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), alongside Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), carried out an operation to tackle the selling of illegal cigarettes and alcohol.
At least five shops in King Street and St Peter's Road in Great Yarmouth were searched on Tuesday (January 14) with officers uncovering around 17,500 illicit cigarettes which had been secreted away in hides within the shops.
Then in Norwich on Wednesday (January 15) more than £10,000 worth of illegal alcohol was seized from shops.
No arrests have been made.
Det Sgt Kelly Gray, from ERSOU's regional disruption team, said: "We'd like to thank our partner agencies for their support with this joint operation which has seen a substantial amount of illegal products removed from circulation.
"We know that the impact from this type of crime can be far reaching and can really impact on local communities, so we will continue to work with other agencies to disrupt those who seek to make profit by carrying out this type of activity."
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An HMRC spokesperson said: "The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. "Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £1.8b a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £0.9b per year.
"This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.
"We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to report it to HMRC online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887."
Activity was reported in Great Yarmouth's King Street from around 11am on Tuesday (January 14) as the multi-agency operation swung into action targeting at least five shops, including one in St Peter's Road.
The simultaneous raids saw more than a dozen officers deployed across the various organisations, aided by a sniffer dog, some wearing stab vests.
The shops were all open as usual as the investigations continued.
There have similar previous raids in the street before.