Lincolnshire Trading Standards: Illegal cigarette sellers 'ingenious'

Illicit cigarettes
Image caption Seven premises in the Spalding area have had their licenses revoked this year for selling illicit tobacco

Shops are using increasingly sophisticated methods to hide illegal tobacco products, officials have said.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards said retailers were becoming "far more ingenious than a few fags hidden under the counter".

In once recent case in Spalding, a haul was found behind an electronically operated false wall.

Officials said smuggled tobacco products often contained rat droppings, arsenic and human excrement.

More on this and other stories at Lincolnshire Live

Earlier this month, The Baltic Store in Winsover Road, Spalding, had its Alcohol Premises Licence revoked by South Holland District Council.

Kirsty Herbertson, of Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: "They had built false walls, and there were electronic systems in place with a hatch on one side and a sliding door on the other.

"Only by operating the electronic system would you be able to get access to the tobacco," she said.

"We had to bash through the wall."

"These smuggled goods do not conform to UK legislation - which says if a cig is left unattended it should self-extinguish," she added.

Image caption To comply with UK legislation cigarettes must have thicker strips at intervals on the paper to help prevent uncontrolled burning

Sgt Kim Enderby from the Alcohol Licensing Team said: "In two separate stock rooms at the rear of the store, we found elaborate electronic hides built into the walls. These were found to contain thousands of illegal cigarettes.

"This was a sophisticated attempt to avoid detection."

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