Thousands of cigarettes have been seized as part of a crackdown on the supply of counterfeit goods.

Officers from Staffordshire Police joined forces with Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards officers and Immigration Services to make an unannounced visit to a convenience store in Biddulph last week.

More than 5,000 cigarettes and 60 pouches of tobacco, all believed to be counterfeit, were found at the high street premises on Tuesday (15 February). 

The goods had been concealed behind false walls and stored away in hidden cupboards alongside a stash of illegal vapes. 

During the operation, a man was also reported to Immigration Services. 

Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, of Staffordshire Moorlands Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is a significant amount of goods which have been seized and an investigation is underway.  

“We take the supply of illegal cigarettes very seriously and we will pursue those who sell them. 

“Unregulated products can pose a serious health risk and these goods are not taxed or legally brought into the country.

“These results demonstrate the strength of partners working collectively to protect our communities. 

“We will continue to work together to tackle rogue trading and unlawful behaviour by businesses.”

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “The sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco products is a crime that not only damages local communities and people’s health but also harms legitimate businesses.

“Staffordshire Trading Standards work with a range of partner agencies to ensure that when they receive information about the sale of illicit tobacco they are able to take a robust co-ordinated response.  

“This helps prevent the supply of illicit tobacco and ensures those responsible for supplying it are dealt with swiftly and effectively.

“This latest successful raid demonstrates that this partnership approach to the supply of illicit tobacco is very effective. 

“I would urge anyone with information about the sale of such products to get in touch with the team.”

Anyone with information about people or businesses selling counterfeit goods or illicit tobacco can report it by calling the Staffordshire Fight the Fakes helpline on 01785 330356