Illegal Stash Worth £10k Sniffed Out in South Tyneside

Posted by: caroline smith on 19 April 2024 09:46

Intelligence from members of the public has helped take illicit tobacco and illegal vapes worth £10k off South Tyneside's streets.

More than 8,000 cigarettes, 233 illegal vapes and 87 packs of hand-rolling tobacco were among products seized after raids were carried out across the borough, following tip-offs from residents.

The haul of items seized
The haul of items seized

Several premises were targeted South Tyneside Trading Standards, with support from Northumbria Police and specialist tobacco detection dogs provided by BWY Canine.

Investigations into the businesses concerned are ongoing.

James Maughan, Senior Public Protection Manager at South Tyneside Council, said: "This was a really successful operation resulting in significant seizures.

"It is important to remember that the sale of illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime.

"Dealers often target children and young people, putting them at risk of developing a harmful addiction.

"Members of the public can help be our eyes and ears, as in this case, when they provided us with vital intelligence to help us with these seizures, and we thank them for their support.

"Illicit tobacco' includes counterfeit tobacco, non-UK duty paid tobacco and 'cheap white' cigarettes, which have little or no legitimate market and so are effectively manufactured specifically for smuggling.

Disposable vapes (e-cigarettes) must comply with certain requirements including limits on the amount of nicotine contained and other labelling requirements. Illegal disposable vapes can contain harmful substances and also higher levels of nicotine, some of the seizures have up to 10 times the legal 2ml amount contained in a legitimate disposable vape in the UK.

Neighbourhood Inspector Denise Easdon, of Northumbria Police, said: "This was a fantastic result as we continue to work with our partners to take illegal goods off the streets.

"Some people may think this is a victimless crime, but quite often these items can be a product of organised criminality.

"Groups can supply them into the region with the intention of making money, which enables them to then continue to fund illicit activities.

"We're committed to pursuing criminals and keeping people safe as part of Operation Sentinel, which is our collaborative approach to tackling serious and organised crime.

"We will continue to work together to prevent and disrupt this type of activity - and would ask the public to help us by reporting anything suspicious."

This activity took place under Operation CeCe, a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC to tackle illegal tobacco.

Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco in the borough can report it anonymously to the KEEP IT OUT hotline on 0300 999 0000 or via the online reporting form at

Last modified: 19 April 2024 09:48