More than 22,800 fake cigarettes which had been illegally shipped from China has been seized.
Greenwich Trading Standards officers, acting on information, swooped on a mail box and confiscate the potentially dangerous cigarettes.
The haul with a street value of more than £12,000 had been illegally shipped and imported into the country from China in small packages.
The action was carried out as part of the town hall’s battle to rid the streets of illicit and counterfeit cigarettes and the tobacco products.
A key concern is that counterfeit cigarettes are sold without regard to age restrictions, so their availability encourages children and young people to start and then stay smokers.
The products are cheaper and so it also undermines efforts to help people quit smoking.
In addition, illegal cigarettes do not conform to safety standards and have frequently been found not to self-extinguish when left – as legitimate ones do – which poses a fire risk.
The council’s trading standard officers work with HM Revenue and Customs as well as the Met to tackle the illegal tobacco trade and make prosecutions.
Sniffer dogs, who can track down fake products however well hidden, have been deployed in the borough’s successful work. The officers act on essential information and intelligence received from residents and businesses.
Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for community safety and environment, said: “This is great work in our fight against the availability of illegal tobacco.
“The trade supports other criminal activity in our communities such as drug dealing which is why it is vital that we stamp down heavily on it. The low price tag might appear attractive but the true cost to people and the community is high.”
“We urge everyone to report any suspected sales of potentially dangerous cigarette and tobacco products so we can catch the criminals involved.”
Councillor David Gardner, cabinet member for health and social care, said:
“Smoking is key public health issue for us and we are campaigning to reduce it to protect people from devastating smoking-related illnesses.
“This is why it is so important cheap illegal tobacco which encourages people to start smoking and discourages current smokers from quitting is not available.
“The Greenwich Stop Smoking service is currently running a seven-week touring ‘Quit your way, today”roadshow with friendly, trained advisers who can help people give up smoking in the way best suited to them. ”
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