THOUSANDS OF FAKE viagra, G-Star jeans and Barbour jackets and illegal cigarettes seized in massive Derbyshire raids

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Almost two million illegal cigarettes and 580kg of tobacco with a street value of at least £1m have been seized by Derbyshire County Council in one of the biggest trading standards hauls in the UK.

The council’s trading standards team worked with police from Derbyshire and the East Midlands using sniffer dogs to inspect six units on a self-storage site in Derbyshire.

Other goods seized include 31,000 Viagra-type tablets worth £155,000, 60 items of counterfeit clothing including fake G-Star jeans and Barbour jackets worth £5,000 and 30 boxes of illegally stored display fireworks valued at £6,000.

One man from Derby has been questioned and bailed pending further enquiries. Several other enquiries are ongoing while officers continue to catalogue the seized goods.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “This is one of the biggest single seizures of fake and illicit tobacco by trading standards officers in the UK and comes following a concerted campaign against sellers and suppliers of illegal cigarettes by our team over the past two years.

“It’s an extremely important result which has kept 92,000 packets of illegal cigarettes and 11,000 packs of hand rolling tobacco off the streets of Derbyshire and sends a clear message to illegitimate traders that we are clamping down on this trade across the county and they will not get away with it.

“We have a duty to support legitimate traders and protect consumers from fake cigarettes, potentially harmful or ineffective medicines and overpriced fake branded clothing and are committed to continuing our work to tackle this illicit trade.

“We’ll continue working with the police and other partner agencies to inspect shops and carry out raids as well as support retailers with our training programme to help them stay on the right side of the law.”

Officers also raided shops in Long Eaton, Newhall, Ripley and two in Ilkeston during the enforcement exercise on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 December where they seized a further 10,000 cigarettes and 15kg of hand rolling tobacco, mostly hidden in concealed panels.

Despite having no legal powers to close shops selling counterfeit tobacco the county council’s trading standard team has closed seven outlets over the last two years by working with shop landlords to remove problem tenants.

This will prevent an estimated extra 400,000 packets of illegal

cigarettes being sold in the county each year.

Officers have also successfully prosecuted 16 people for the sale or supply of illegal tobacco over the last 18 months and since 2013, including the latest seizure, have seized approximately 3.5 million cigarettes and 1.6 tonnes of tobacco.

Derbyshire’s trading standards team works with the police, UK Border Force, HMRC, district and borough councils and other regional trading standards teams and regularly uses sniffer dog detection services to carry out its programme of enforcement work.

Anyone wishing to report a suspected illegal tobacco seller can call Crimestoppers anonymously and in confidence on 0800 555111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.