This means that there needs to be careful planning and thought surrounding the best way to move people away from cigarettes. Pricing is an important method of helping people to stop smoking as much as they do but sadly, it does nothing to impact on the demand that people have for smoking or for the cravings that many people will have. This means that many people are continually looking for more affordable cigarettes and this has created a situation where people are able to meet this demand with cheaper goods.
Cheaper goods are not always safeOf course, the cheaper goods are not legal goods. Sometimes they will be brought into the UK from abroad, bypassing the customs money which helps to lower the price of these products. This has been the story of a recent police sting in Burton which has led to close to 75,000 illegal cigarettes being seized by the police and Trading Standards. The street value of these cigarettes would reach £38,000 but after information and intelligence was received by the police, the two organisations worked together to seize the illegal cigarettes.
This is an on-going battle and even though these cigarettes have been seized, there will be countless cigarettes making their way around the country that haven’t been seized. The grand total of 74,571 cigarettes and 13.85 kg of tobacco represents a good haul for the agencies involved but it doesn’t represent anything close to the full amount of illegal tobacco products that are being distributed around the United Kingdom.
Multi-agency work is the way forward in dealing with illegal cigarettesTrading Standards were assisted by the Staffordshire Police, by the UK Border Force and by a specialist team of dog handles, Wagtail UK. Using dogs to sniff out illegal cigarettes is becoming a very common method of impacting on this form of crime and it is likely that this tactic will be at the forefront of attacking illegal cigarette movements across the UK. The fact that there is a specialist handling team set up for this line of work indicates the level of demand for these services. This is not a new thing, the sniffing power of dogs has long been hailed for its ability to find items but with the stakes getting higher and higher when it comes to illegal cigarettes, this is a tactic that can have a huge impact on the industry.
This line of work is supported by money that is recovered by the Proceeds of Crime Act, which is definitely something that many people will approve of. Taking money away from criminals and using it to combat crime is one of the most effective uses of this money and this will hopefully have a positive impact on local communities.
There is no denying that some people will say that there are much bigger dangers to society than people paying a cheaper price for their cigarettes. This is true but there are many aspects involved with illegal cigarettes and it isn’t the harmless crime that some people contend it is.
Money brought in from illegal cigarettes may be used to fund more serious crime and it is money that is being diverted away from the government. There is also no guarantee that these illegal cigarettes are fit for consumption so people may be placing their health at risk by their attempts to save some money.
The tracking of illegal cigarettes is a very common activity for Trading Standards teams and this means that many defence solicitors have considerable experience and expertise in this line of work. If you have been impacted by this form of activity, it is important to know that you have the right sort of support available to you.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.