Counterfeit cigarettes and alcohol were seized from four Lincoln shops by Lincolnshire Trading Standards in raids with HMRC and Lincolnshire Police.
The four shops, which were not named, were found to have illicit alcohol and non-duty paid tobacco products, either on sale or in storage.
Around 12,000 non-duty paid and counterfeit cigarettes were seized, along with 66 bottles of non-duty paid alcohol, of which 7 have been identified as counterfeit.
The team of officers used two ‘tobacco dogs’, funded for the day by the Smokefree Lincolnshire Alliance, to help track down counterfeit tobacco products.
“Some months ago, we provided information and guidance to retailers in Lincoln to make sure they were fully aware of the laws around tobacco sales,” explained Sara Barry, head of safer communities at the County Council.
“Working with partner agencies during these raids has meant we have had better intelligence and information to target premises that are continuing to act in an irresponsible and illegal way.”
Dave Ramscar, Chair of Smokefree Lincolnshire Alliance, said: “The Alliance agreed to fund the tobacco dogs for these raids to help partner agencies in continuing this important work and enforcing the law on tobacco sales.
“Counterfeit cigarettes are often more readily available to children, and are potentially even more harmful to their health than regular ones, as well as being illegal and often funding other organised crime.”