Thousands of illegal cigarettes among items seized in Wigan raids



Wigan council officers made seven visits to the borough following complaints from members of the public.

Objects were seized in four of the premises visited, searches having uncovered more than 11,000 cigarettes, 1.5 kg of tobacco and 57 bottles of vodka.

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Some of the items seized in recent raids in Wigan

The council says illegal tobacco makes it easier for children and young people to buy cigarettes and become addicted to tobacco and warned that people who make money from it don’t care who they sell to or the consequences of their actions.

Councilor Paul Prescott, Environment Portfolio Holder at Wigan Council, said: “We remain committed to cracking down on those who sell illicit goods.

“The information provided by residents and businesses enables our Business Standards team, in conjunction with local law enforcement, to investigate and take enforcement action against those who sell illegal tobacco.

“Cigarettes and tobacco are extremely harmful and cause long-term harm, but illegal tobacco is often much cheaper, making it much easier for young people to start smoking. “

The Greater Manchester Illicit Tobacco Survey 2021 showed that while fewer adult smokers now buy illegal tobacco (20% in 2018 compared to 16% in 2021), more 14- or 15-year-old smokers say they have been smokers. proposed illegal tobacco, with an increase from 10% in 2018 to a quarter in 2021.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Keep It Out campaign generated nearly 400 reports of illegal tobacco sales in Greater Manchester, which led to raids, store closings and huge fines.

Over 2.3 million illegal cigarettes and over 270 kg of illicit rolling tobacco were seized by trade standards officers across the city-region.

Another phase of the Keep It Out campaign is now underway in Greater Manchester.

Andrea Crossfield, Head of Making Smoking History at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The crackdown on illegal tobacco is part of Greater Manchester’s broader efforts to reduce smoking rates and increase tobacco use. history of future generations.

“While it’s encouraging to see fewer adults trying and buying illegal tobacco, it’s worrying to see so many young people being offered it.

“All tobacco kills, but the people who sell illegal tobacco sell it to children, making them addictive to death, and cheaper prices undermine smokers’ attempts to quit.

“Whether legal or illegal, all tobacco contains a toxic cocktail of chemicals that will kill one in two smokers in the long run.

“It’s not just about the impact on our health, the illegal tobacco market is fueled by organized crime groups and that’s why we are raising awareness of the damage it is doing to our neighborhoods and encouraging them. people to report illegal sales to keep our children safe. and smoke-free.

If anyone wishes to report the sale of illegal tobacco, they can confidently call the Wigan Council on 01942 827479 or via email [email protected]

For more information on the campaign, visit

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