Council operation stops sales of illegal tobacco

Sniffer dog and tobacco

Almost £26,000 worth of illegal tobacco has been taken off the shelves by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Trading Standards team and Police Scotland.

Operation CeCe is a UK wide operation targeting illicit tobacco, which is either duty evaded, counterfeit or both and the recent operations in the Capital resulted in the seizure of almost £26,000 worth of stock. It included 22,600 cigarettes and 10Kg of hand rolling tobacco which in turn represented evaded duty of over £10,600 defrauded from public funds.

Acting upon intelligence received, Officers from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Trading Standards team, in partnership with officers from Police Scotland, attended a number of premises in the Leith walk area of the city, along with tobacco detection dog Boo.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Scott Arthur, said:

These recoveries are a fantastic result for our Trading Standards team who work hard to identify and tackle unsafe and illegal products. Stopping such products reaching consumers in Edinburgh and beyond is a testament to their proactive strategy and dedication.

I am, of course, concerned that this market exists within Edinburgh. These products have not had the required duty paid on them, but also do not comply with the plain packaging, warning requirements, and where they are counterfeit, breach Trade Marks legislation. No tobacco product is safe, but the recovered goods may not comply with the requirements designed to ensure that cigarettes are self-extinguishing to prevent domestic fires.

Illicit and Counterfeit Tobacco evades taxation and often ends up in the hands of young people, and for that reason tackling it is a key part of Edinburgh’s contribution to the Scottish Government aim to achieve a Smoke Free Generation by 2034. We are committed to tackling the supply of illicit tobacco, and will work with our partners in Police Scotland and HMRC wherever possible to disrupt its supply. Legitimate retail sale of tobacco is also disadvantaged where illicit supply routes exist, and we would encourage any legitimate business owners to come forward with any information.

Published: June 27th 2022