March 29, 2022 7.00 am

Another remote controlled illegal cigarette stash exposed at Lincolnshire shop

Just weeks after a shop in Boston was found to be doing the same thing

Lincolnshire Trading Standards has uncovered another elaborate remote controlled compartment storing thousands of illegal cigarettes inside a shop in the county.

After receiving a tip off from a member of the public, officers from Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire Trading Standards visited a shop in the centre of Spalding on Thursday, March 24.

Footage recorded by Trading Standards officers showed how illegal cigarettes were concealed underneath the floor in a unique hide powered by a remote control.

The cigarettes were hidden underneath the floorboards. | Photo: Lincolnshire Trading Standards

To further attempt to hide the counterfeit products, other legal shop stock such as kitchen roll and coffee were piled on top of the cigarettes and tobacco.

When pushing the remote control, the floor begins to rise with stock still on top, revealing the cigarettes underneath.

A total of 10,000 illicit cigarettes were seized by Trading Standards, along with a stash of illegal medicines and a large quantity of cash, with the matter now under investigation.

Legal goods were stocked above the cigarettes to further evade detection. | Photo: Lincolnshire Trading Standards

It isn’t the first time a shop has gone to extreme lengths to hide illegal goods, with The Lincolnite reporting on a store in Boston earlier this month, which operated a remote controlled ceiling light, in which thousands of illicit cigarettes were stashed.

Andy Wright, principal trading standards officer with Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: “We will now conduct an investigation to establish the person, or persons, responsible. Our objective is to remove dangerous tobacco products from the market.

“It is a legal requirement that cigarettes self-extinguish if left unattended, but illegal cigarettes do not have this important safety feature. Unfortunately, we’ve seen how the consequences of this missing safety feature have proved fatal in Lincolnshire.

“In many areas of Lincolnshire we see a distinct relationship between retail of illegal cigarettes, anti-social behaviour, drugs, modern day slavery, and violent crime.

“The sale of illegal cigarettes is unacceptable to law abiding members of the community, but few realise the connection to more serious crime. If you have any information you feel may assist, we ask that you contact us.”

If you know anything about illegal tobacco products being sold in your area, you are being encouraged to report it to Crimestoppers either online or by calling 0800 555111.