‘Secret hatch’ between flat and shop raided

More than 300,000 illegal cigarettes have been found hidden in shops, flats and a storage container in Hull.

Hull’s trading standards officers and police colleagues uncovered the contraband concealed by boxes, suitcases and secret compartments.

Hiding places included spots inside door frames, behind magnetic panels and underneath stairs.

Properties in Hessle Road and Spring Bank were raided, with one of those visited including a secret hatch between a flat and a shop so illegal goods could be quickly passed through.

The find is the latest in a series this year, uncovered through partnership work between trading standards and police.

 

A spokesman for the council team, who cannot be named because of the sensitive nature of his work, said illegal tobacco was a danger in itself and could have links to more serious crime.

He said: “Buying illegal tobacco can feel like a victimless crime but that’s not true. It’s not just a case of the government missing out on some taxes, illicit tobacco gets children smoking, stops people quitting and funds serious organised crime.

“It can also have links to cases of modern day slavery, where victims receive absolutely appalling treatment. It’s something we crack down hard on locally.

 

“People in communities do come to us to tell us where illicit tobacco is sold, they know it’s bad news and they don’t want it. We’d encourage anyone with information to speak completely anonymously to us, the police, or via the Keep It Out project, and help us keep it out of your communities.”

Shops selling illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously to the Trading Standards team on 01482 300 300, or at the Keep It Out website.

Contact Gi Hull
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