One of Cambridgeshire’s biggest hauls of illegal cigarettes were seized during raids on three Wisbech shops.
A total of 30,000 illegal cigarettes were uncovered during the joint operation on May 15 by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards, police and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
Specially trained tobacco detection dogs were also used and found 16,000 cigarettes hidden in one shop.
Trading standards officer Andrew Fayers said: “We concerned about the public health issues in relation for illicit tobacco.
“It is easier for children to get hold of the cigarettes as these are cheaper and discourage people from quitting.”
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Acting Head of Supporting Businesses and Communities, Aileen Andrews has sent out a warning.
She said “We won’t tolerate illicit tobacco and cigarettes in our county. Tobacco fraud costs the UK £2 billion a year in lost taxes which should be spent on public services.
“We want to see health improvement in this county and with poor and disadvantaged communities and young people often the target of this cheap tobacco, it does not encourage people to quit.
“Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”
l Health experts will be aiming to help smokers give illegal tobacco the boot at an event on Sunday.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Camquit stop smoking advisors will be parking their health van at Wisbech car boot sale from 8am to 1pm.
People are invited to drop in and find out more about the harm the illegal tobacco trade does to local communities.