One of the most sophisticated illegal tobacco concealments to be found in the North East was discovered by Cooper, a highly trained detection dog working for Wales based company B.W.Y Canine Ltd. Trading standards officers say the brick-built working barbie, which could be lifted up and down by remotely operated hydraulics, concealed a wooden chest full of cigarettes. It was one of the most sophisticated contraptions for hiding tobacco they had ever found.
It was in the backyard of a shop in Gateshead uncovered during a two-day operation carried out by Newcastle and Gateshead trading standards teams, Northumbria Police and the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU)
The total street value of the seized goods was estimated to be in the region of £140,000.
The teams launched the operation after receiving intelligence in their fight against organised crime.
Search warrants were executed for an address in Gateshead and three in Newcastle. One person was arrested for suspected money laundering and a huge haul of illegal tobacco confiscated including:
- 20,000 packets of cigarettes
- 578 packets of hand-rolled tobacco
- 200 illegal vapes
- £1,300 cash
Two cars were also searched.
NEROCU Detective Sergeant David Holcroft said: “This is an excellent result and a testament to the important work we are doing alongside our partners to root out illegal cigarettes and trading operations in the region.
“While the public might not see the harm these counterfeit products cause, we know that the proceeds of their sales are often invested into organised crime and can help fund more serious offences like drug supply and even trafficking.
“We will continue to work with our partners under the banner of Operation Sentinel to take harmful and illegal items out of circulation.”
Read more here, https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/citylife-news/whats-barbecue