Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire Trading Standards have seized over 20,000 illegal and fake cigarettes in Lincoln.
In July, the teams raided a number of shops across the city, with the help of Indie, a tobacco detection dog.
The dog helped officers find counterfeit cigarettes in secret, concealed compartments in four city shops, which were not named by Trading Standards.
Emma Milligan, Senior Trading Standards Officer, said: “We are urging people to lookout for fake goods, such as cigarettes and tobacco as these may pose a more significant health risk than genuine cigarettes.
“Jin Lings, which were one of the brands found at one of the shops, are illegal in the EU.
“This brand is particularly worrying to us, as it is not made to the correct legislative standards.
“As well as this, we believe that this type of cigarette caused a local house fire in Spalding in which one person died, and during the course of the inquest the Coroner raised serious concerns about the sale of illegal cigarettes in the area, hence why we have been cracking down on sales of this product.”
“As well as the potential health and safety concerns, local businesses are also suffering as they unable to compete with the cheaper prices of these illicit products.”
DC Laura Magson of the Lincolnshire Police Liquor Licensing Department, said: “We are a department that is led by intelligence so the more information we receive the better.
“If you have any suspicions or concerns about illegal or counterfeit cigarettes being sold in your community we would urge you to get in touch.
“These latest raids were conducted off the back of information received so it demonstrates that we will act upon what people tell us.
“We hope it will also demonstrate to the local traders that we will not stand for this activity in Lincolnshire and where we have the necessary information we will respond robustly.”
If you think a business in Lincoln is supplying illegal, fake or duty free goods, get in touch with Trading Standards on 01522 782341, or by emailing [email protected]