Vapes, illicit tobacco and cash have been seized during a multi-agency operation in north Kent.

On Wednesday 24 April 2024, officers from North Kent’s Community Safety Unit targeted three shops across Dartford and Gravesend which were suspected of selling the unregulated products.

In total £4,000 was recovered along with more than 1,200 vapes and over 94,000 cigarettes. Officers also seized 20kg of shisha and 46 pouches of tobacco. Within two of the businesses, constables found false walls which concealed some products. The third shop had items stored in wheelie bins in an outside garden. Two people were also dealt with for immigration offences.

During the operation, police worked closely with staff from Gravesham Council, Kent Trading Standards, HMRC and the Home Office Immigration Enforcement team.

Inspector Lee Cheesman said: 

‘These results show just how prevalent this issue is and the lengths to which some shop owners will allegedly go to conceal products and avoid detection.

‘The sale of illicit cigarettes, tobacco and vapes poses a serious health risk to consumers and also affects the trade of law-abiding businesses.

‘Kent Police is determined to work with our partner agencies to stamp out the illegal sale of unregulated tobacco and hold offenders to account for their behaviour. This operation will be repeated in the future.’

By Ed

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