January 21, 2022
Illegal tobacco seized from hidey-hole in shop ceiling
Boxes of suspected smuggled and counterfeit tobacco have been seized from a cavity above a ceiling at a Maidstone business.
The contraband was recovered at the premises in Knightrider Street on Wednesday (19 January 2022), during a joint operation involving police and Kent County Council Trading Standards.
Four other retailers were inspected, with seizures made at addresses in the town’s High Street, King Street, and Calder Road.
Items recovered included illegal tobacco, believed to be for sale without payment of the necessary UK duties, banned e-cigarettes, and vaping products, along with potentially smuggled whisky. The total value of seizures is estimated to be between £15,000 and £20,000.
Police Constable Jared Dungate, of the Maidstone Community Safety Unit, said: “The supply and sale of illicit cigarettes, tobacco, and alcohol are often connected to organized crime groups and has a detrimental effect on law-abiding retailers who pay the relevant duties and taxes.
“We will continue to make regular visits to premises with our partners who will apply for closure orders where businesses persistently fail to comply with the law.”