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Warning on dangers of illegal tobacco
11:03am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
PEOPLE in Swindon are being reminded about the dangers of illegal tobacco in the run-up to Christmas.
Swindon Council’s Trading Standards, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service and Swindon Stop Smoking Service are supporting the Smokefree South West Illegal Tobacco campaign, which is highlighting the serious consequences the trade has on health, crime, safety and communities.
The campaign’s clear message is that while illegal tobacco may appear to be a bargain especially at Christmas, it is not a victimless crime.
Coun Richard Hurley, cabinet member for public protection, housing and Streetsmart, said: “Illegal tobacco can cause serious damage to our neighbourhoods with criminals targeting vulnerable people who see it as a way of paying off debts by buying or smuggling cheap tobacco.
“People caught selling illegal tobacco face heavy fines or even jail and it is vitally important we raise awareness of this serious crime.”
As a result of intelligence sharing, joint agency enforcement operations over the last year have resulted in the seizure of supplies of illegal tobacco by the Police, Trading Standards and HMRC.
Cheap supplies can be cigarettes or hand rolled tobacco which are smuggled brands illegally brought into the UK, non-duty paid or counterfeit. Tell-tale signs are the cheap price, a foreign language on the packaging, unfamiliar brands, printing errors on the packs, no health warnings or an unusual taste.
The sale of illegal tobacco is a criminal offence. Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco can do so online to Trading Standards at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk, call the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org. They cannot trace your call and will never ask for your name.
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