The authorities have said raids in which thousands of ‘deadly’ cigarettes were seized in Boston were part of a county-wide clamp-down on illegal goods.
Lincolnshire Trading Standards, with police, carried out a raid on International Foods in High Street on Wednesday, with 4,000 illegal cigarrettes and out-of-date food found.
The cigarettes had been hidden in the shop’s toilet area and in an outbuilding and were discovered with the help of a sniffer dog.
Just a day later, on Thursday, officers conducted one of their ‘biggest raids in recent years’ at a home in Haven Meadows, Fenside.
They uncovered a staggering 40,000 illegal cigarettes hidden in the house.
Trading Standards had received reports that people had visited the address ‘at all hours’ to buy the cigarettes.
A spokesman said that, asides from not having paid tax, the foreign-labelled cigarettes found in both raids can be lethal, adding: “What makes these cigarettes deadly is they carry on burning, unlike regulated cigarettes which burn out. In this respect they are very deadly. We had a case in this area not long ago where a woman had died in a house fire and the cause was an illegal cigarette.”
Foreign language speaking volunteers helped police and trading standards conduct the raids.
Sgt Kim Enderby, from the Alcohol Licensing Department, stated: “All these raids were based on intelligence supplied to us by members of the community. The selling of illegal cigarettes funds other criminal behaviour, puts unsafe products on our streets and takes business away from responsible retailers.
“We have a number of similar operations planned all over the county for the weeks ahead and I would again ask that anyone who knows of shops and houses where this activity is happening to let us know, either by contacting Crimestoppers or informing your local police”.
People can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or they can call police on 101.