More than 1,500 illegal cigarettes seized in Worthing raid

West Sussex Trading Standards officers found the cigarettes and 130 pouches of loose tobacco in a pre-Christmas raid in the town.

Some of the cigarettes were of a type linked to a house fire in Lincolnshire, in which one person died.

It followed earlier raids in Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Worthing when more than 600 packets of illicit cigarettes were found along with a number of packets of loose rolling tobacco.

Two shops were raided in the latest crackdown with officers using dog trained to sniff out the illegal tobacco.

The latest operation was praised by Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member in charge of overseeing Trading Standards.

He said: “We want to warn anyone involved in the trade of illegal tobacco that Trading Standards will take action against them, including legal action to revoke their alcohol licences where appropriate.”

Some Jin Ling branded cigarettes were found in the latest raid.

The sale of these cigarettes is forbidden in the UK as they do not meet European Safety Standards.

The Jin Ling cigarettes that were found do not meet legal requirements, which say that legal cigarettes sold in the UK have been designed to self-extinguish if left burning, reducing the fire risk.

In a recent prosecution by West Sussex Trading Standards involving the sale of illegal cigarettes, the owners of a shop in Montague Street, Worthing, were convicted and ordered to pay more than £2,500 in fines and legal costs.

Cllr Barnard said: “Residents should not be duped by the apparent bargain of illicit tobacco. I also hope these actions send a clear message to businesses that selling illicit and unsafe tobacco won’t be tolerated.”

Anyone with any concerns about shops selling illicit tobacco should report the matter by phoning Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or visit the website.