Illegal tobacco sellers warned

25 Nov 2021 11:50
Published by: Scott Callan

ROGUE retailers in Bolton who sell illegal tobacco have been warned they are being watched as part of a regional campaign to reduce its supply and demand.

Anyone found guilty of selling smuggled or fake tobacco is warned they will face penalties from the police, local authority and HMRC - fines, tax bills, removal of alcohol licences, shop closures or prison sentences.

Between April and September this year, the 'Keep It Out' campaign run across the borough generated 16 reports of illegal tobacco being sold and raids seized nearly 15,000 illegal cigarettes and more than 6kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco.

The enforcement activity comes after figures from a survey by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership revealed that nearly half of people who buy illicit tobacco purchase it from shops.

The Keep It Out campaign is part of a regional multi-agency programme to reduce the supply of and demand for illegal tobacco, highlighting the true cost of these 'cheap' products and encouraging people to report sales.

Kate Pike, trading standards North West lead on tobacco, said: "We can reassure retailers that we act on every report of illegal tobacco sales and support other measures to reduce the market such as the introduction of a tobacco licence and increasing the age of sale to 21."

Susan Baines, Bolton Council's executive cabinet member for wellbeing, said: "We need the public to anonymously report where illegal tobacco is being sold, so we can identify the criminals who are putting the health of our communities at risk.

"People might think illegal tobacco is not a big deal, but it is smuggled and dealt by organised crime groups who are linked to drugs and people trafficking.

"These people profit from keeping smokers addicted and selling to underage children."

The sale of illegal tobacco can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or at

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