A shop in Worthing has been found selling £900 worth of illegal tobacco following an investigation by Trading Standards.
A statement by West Sussex County Council said 1.6kg of tobacco and 600 cigarettes were found concealed in a stock room wall behind a fire exit sign and in the ceiling of the stock room covered by a light fitting.
The tobacco was found by West Sussex Trading Standards working alongside Phoebe and YoYo, sniffer dogs from B.W.Y Canine Ltd.
The council said officers visited the shop on Thursday August 25 following a tip off from a local resident.
David Barling, county council cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “This successful investigation by our Trading Standards team once again highlights our committal to stopping illegal trade in West Sussex.
“The excellent work our Trading Standards team has done here helps to protect consumers and businesses who comply with the law from unscrupulous traders.”
Illicit tobacco is often cheaper than legal tobacco but carries increased risks.
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards team manager, said: “While cheap tobacco products may seem attractive the fact is that it does not self-extinguish, which is a major fire hazard and has led to house fires in the past.
“We are grateful for the information provided by the resident and will continue clamping down on this illegal trade.”
The investigation continues.
Anyone with information about illicit tobacco can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or can report details online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.
For help stopping smoking visit www.smokefreewestsussex.co.uk.
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