Thousands of fake cigarette boxes were found by Lincolnshire Trading Standards during an inspection of a car wash in Boston.
Trading Standards were inspecting properties in and around the Boston area as part of an operation aimed at tackling the exploitation of workers, but found another discovery on their way.
During an inspection at a local car wash on May 20, officers found a huge stash of printed packs intended to be used in the production of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes.
Chemists at the University of Lincoln examine fake cigarettes and found them to have much higher levels of toxic elements, such as arsenic and nickel, than regular ones.
Andy Wright of Lincolnshire Trading Standards said he is worried about how often these incidents are occurring in the county, and is warning people to look out for any dodgy deals.
“This isn’t the first time the manufacture of counterfeit cigarettes has been discovered in Lincolnshire. We frequently find illegal products at retail level, but this recent find shows the sort of quantities being manufactured.
“Worryingly, the difference in price between counterfeit and genuine cigarettes at retail is becoming smaller. If buyers only knew what their purchase money was actually used for they might not be quite so inclined to buy them.
“Counterfeit goods in general only look like the real thing. Scrape below the surface and you’ll usually find counterfeit products bear little resemblance to the real deal.
“When compared to legal cigarettes, counterfeits can contain as much as five times the level of cadmium, six times as much lead, 160% more tar and 133% more carbon monoxide.
“It’s hardly news that cigarettes are bad for your health; it’s written on the packet. But few would realise that counterfeits pose such a significantly higher risk.
“Yes, they’re a few quid cheaper, but they’re cheaper for a reason. Smoking 20 counterfeit cigarettes can be as damaging to your health as smoking 600 genuine ones.”