A haul of illegal cigarettes and tobacco has been found hidden in a car in South Shields.
South Tyneside Council's trading standards officers made the discovery with the help of sniffer dogs Scamp and Yoyo who uncovered 1.8kg of hand-rolling tobacco and 780 illegal cigarettes in the boot of a car. The estimated retail value of the seizure is more than £1,200.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "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.
"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.
"Cheap tobacco encourages smokers to keep smoking and to smoke more, and can break down their willpower to quit. It robs our local hospitals and schools of money for vital services so for all these reasons I would encourage anyone with any information about illegal tobacco products to contact our Trading Standards team."
Investigation into the circumstances surrounding the seizure is currently ongoing.
Anyone with information about the sale of illicit tobacco in the Borough, is asked to report it to South Tyneside Trading Standards by calling Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4 040506 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org