New Hall Lane shops raided with illegal cigarettes, vapes and alcohol seized

Posted on - 25th July, 2023 - 5:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Fishwick, Lancashire Police, Preston News, St Matthews
Some of the contraband cigarettes seized from the New Hall Lane raids

Raids along New Hall Lane uncovered more than 20,000 counterfeit cigarettes.

Two shops were raided and officers from Lancashire County Council’s trading standards team uncovered the stashes of illicit cigarettes along with 2,850g of illegal rolling tobacco.

There were also 183 non-compliant vapes being sold at the counter across the two shops in the Fishwick and St Matthews area on Wednesday 19 July.

Read more: Hundreds of illegal cigarettes and vapes seized from two Preston shops

Other shops raided were also found to be selling on-duty paid alcohol as well as 15 packs of prescription-only medicines.

The county council declined to give the name of the shops subject to the raids – which were part of Operation Centurion – as legal proceedings are progressing against the premises involved.

Lancashire County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Closing off avenues where illicit goods are sold is not just a matter of enforcing the law, it is a way of protecting public health and keeping the community safe.

“Our Trading Standards Team will continue to keep seizing illicit tobacco and non-compliant vapes and continue to take enforcement action against rogue traders.

“I encourage anyone to report shops to us that they believe may be behaving in an illegal way.”

Read more: Concerns raised about the number of schoolchildren seen vaping in Preston

Anyone who sees shops selling counterfeit goods, selling e–cigarettes to young people under 18 years of age or sees vapes that may be illegal, can refer such issues to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice helpline on 08082231133.

Preston Police were also part of the raids with one premises given a Section 19 notice for repeat failures to comply with their alcohol licence.

Police also found £5,000 which they say was suspected to have been obtained by illegal means.

Sergeant Roz Walsh from Preston’s Local Policing Team said: “This operation demonstrates the strong working relationships that we have with our partners and the commitment we all have to working together to tackle this sort of activity which oftens leads to anti-social behaviour in the surrounding communities.

“The combined strength of us all working together is formidable and is more likely to deliver sustainable solutions to these problems.”

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