£15,000 of illegal tobacco and a van seized in Bedford

It included cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco
Tobacco found in the van and inset, the van being seized.Tobacco found in the van and inset, the van being seized.
Tobacco found in the van and inset, the van being seized.

A van and £15,000 of illegal tobacco have been seized in Bedford.

More than 13,500 illegal cigarettes and 5.1 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco were found during the sting between the council’s trading standards, HM Revenue & Customs and Bedfordshire Police.

Test purchases were made at two premises on Midland Road – with the illicit tobacco found in a van shared by the premises. Investigations are now ongoing and there could be further enforcement action.

The council says the businesses involved cannot be named until formal action has been successfully taken.

Councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant, portfolio holder for community safety, regulatory services and housing at Bedford Borough Council, said: "This significant seizure is a stark reminder of the harmful impact the illegal tobacco trade has on our community. Not only does it undermine legitimate businesses, but it also funds criminal activity and poses health risks to residents.

“I applaud the collaborative efforts of our Trading Standards team, HMRC, and Bedfordshire Police in tackling this issue and encourage residents to report any suspected illegal tobacco activity. Together, we can make Bedford a safer and healthier place for everyone.”

Lord Michael Bichard, chair of National Trading Standards, added: "The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law."

You can report information about the sale of illegal tobacco to the Citizens Advice Bureau at 0808 223 1133 or email at [email protected].