ONE of the largest seizures of illegal tobacco ever made in Gloucestershire has been made at an address in the Forest.
The tobacco, which is thought to counterfeit and have been smuggled into the UK, could be part of large-scale criminal operation.
It was seized in an operation by Gloucestershire Police and county Trading Standards at a residential address last Thursday (March 2).
An earlier investigation had revealed a link between the address and a nearby shop known to sell illegal tobacco.
The shop had previously stored illicit tobacco in vehicles but the house is believed to have been the main store.
Trading Standards officers seized 2,260 packets of 20 cigarettes – a total of 45,200 individual cigarettes – and 62.8 kilos (138lb 7oz) of rolling tobacco in 1,256 50g pouches.
The tobacco was found in boxes, bin bags and laundry sacks and no attempt had been made to hide it.
Among the tobacco were Mayfair-branded cigarettes which are also believed to be counterfeit.
Officers also removed £1,600 in cash from the address under proceeds of crime laws.
Information obtained by Trading Standards indicate that those allegedly involved live hundreds of miles from the Forest.
Gloucestershire County Council says that points to it being part of wide-ranging and organised criminal activity.
The council’s Cabinet member for Trading Standards, Cllr Nigel Moor (Con, Stow-on-the-Wold) said: Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for trading standards said, “This represents one of the largest seizures of illegal tobacco in the county and is a testament to the excellent work by our officers.
“Selling, or possessing for sale, illegal tobacco is a criminal offence and we’re committed to continuing our crack down in Gloucestershire.
“Trading standards treats this criminal activity very seriously and will continue investigations that protect the honest traders who face unfair competition.”