HUGE quantities of illegal tobacco and alcohol have been recovered by police, HMRC and Trading Standards in the last year, new figures have shown.
More than 100 litres of vodka, wine and gin which is either counterfeit or has not had the duty paid has also been discovered on sale in shops across Lincolnshire, including Boston, along with almost 32,000 illegal cigarettes and a large amount of tobacco, in an ongoing operation to tackle the illegal licensing trade in the county.
In the most recent raids in Boston, on July 18, a tobacco detection dog helped uncover 1,660 cigarettes, 1.3kilos shisha, 0.95 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, and two bottles of wine at Boston Food and 400g of hand-rolling tobacco, 3,340 cigarettes and six bottles of wine at Central Food and Wine
It is not yet known whether the goods are counterfeit or non-duty paid.
The figures have been revealed just over a year after an explosion at an illicit vodka factory set up in an industrial unit at Boston’s Broadfield Lane Industrial Estate. Five Lithuanian men were killed and one was severely injured in the blast last July.
Police had not been aware of the illegal activity taking place at the unit until the incident, and say it is still proving difficult to find the suppliers who are providing retailers with counterfeit drink and tobacco, which can be harmful to people using them.
Insp Rod Rose, who works in liquor licensing for Lincolnshire Police, said: “We appeal to the wider community to help us tackle the problem at source by reporting any suspicious activity such as unmarked vans or cars delivering to licensed premises.”