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Crackdown on £211 million illegal tobacco trade in the South West

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

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A campaign is being relaunched today to clamp down on the £211 million illegal tobacco trade in the South West

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A campaign is being relaunched today to clamp down on the £211 million illegal tobacco trade in the South West.

With an estimated one-in-five smokers across the region buying tobacco illegally, various groups have joined forces to wipe out the trade including Smokefree South West, HM Revenue & Customs, police, primary care trusts and local councils.

Fiona Andrews, Smokefree South West director, said progress had been made since February 2011 when the campaign was first launched.

She said: "The illegal tobacco market in the UK has halved in the last decade but still poses a real and present threat to children and local communities."

Cigarettes and pouches of hand rolling tobacco were offered at "pocket money prices" making them available to youngsters, she said.

"The only people who benefit from this trade are the criminals who don't care about what is in the packets they sell," she said.

"Since illegal tobacco remains part of the range of smuggled and contraband goods traded by criminal gangs it is vital that steady, sustained pressure continues to be applied."

Bob Gaiger, South West spokesman for HMRC, said the illegal trade was a "very real problem" in the region.

He said: "Illegal tobacco is often the first stage in a chain of illegal trades that fund criminality. These criminals smuggle tobacco and cigarettes illegally into the country.

"Some of these will be counterfeit and will have been manufactured in completely unregulated environments to be sold at knock-down prices. They do not care about the impact on local businesses, your neighbourhood or your children's lives, targeting anyone and anywhere they can make money."

The £211million cost of illegal tobacco for South West shops

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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5 comments

  • Bleach  |  February 26 2013, 8:07AM

    - " THe (sic) only thing it seems the government care about is other people making money on something that they do not profit" I like conspiracy theorists. They're funny, they make me laugh.

    |   -1
  • robocop1982  |  February 25 2013, 10:10PM

    SHops sell this junk anyway. WHats the difference? Oh! the price. THe only thing it seems the government care about is other people making money on something that they do not profit. THey are very greedy. sharing the world is hardly their defining attribute. WHen you think the way they throw their weight around with everybody. who on earth do they think they are? restricting an already short lived species even further is just cruel

    |   2
  • robocop1982  |  February 25 2013, 10:04PM

    shops sell this garbage anyway so whats the difference? Oh! the price

    |   1
  • Stuboy13  |  February 25 2013, 5:08PM

    Good. Filthy habit anyway, the least these dirty smokers can do is pay the tax on their cancer sticks, they'll need the money to fund their NHS treatment when they end up in hospital with a smoking related disease.

    |   -7
  • mrtappers  |  February 25 2013, 12:15PM

    £211. million pound worth of tobacco is a lot of baccy if it is sold at pocket money prices I think the figures have been fudged a bit

    |   14

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