Three stolen motorbikes, a cannabis grow and more than £100,000 worth of illegal tobacco were all seized when officers from Rugby Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) carried out a joint operation with Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards on Friday 18 June 2021.
Acting on intelligence, a business premises on the outskirts of Rugby was raided. Sniffer dogs quickly identified an illegal tobacco store where 13,846 packs of cigarettes and 2,166 packs of Hand Rolling Tobacco (50g) were discovered. Trading Standards officers believe that the illegal products were being split in to smaller quantities for sale in shops across Warwickshire.
Warwickshire Police is leading the investigation into the discovery of the motorbikes and 75 cannabis plants. Trading Standards Officers are investigating the illegal tobacco.
No arrests have been made but police are appealing to the public for information.
Sergeant Shaun Haywood from Rugby SNT said: “Excellent partnership work with our colleagues at the council has resulted in significant disruption to this criminal enterprise and resulted in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of illegal items being taken off the streets.”
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Illegal cigarettes are sold at pocket money prices and the criminals who sell them don’t care who their customers are, making it easier for children and young people to buy cigarettes and get hooked on smoking.
“The seizure of over £100,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco will represent a significant blow to the criminals seeking to distribute and sell these products in Warwickshire.
“The sale of illegal cigarettes is a threat to the health of our young people and their availability makes it harder for smokers to quit. The illegal tobacco trade also has strong links with organised crime and criminal gangs involved in drug dealing, money laundering, people trafficking and terrorism.
“Help us to keep illegal cigarettes off Warwickshire’s streets by reporting the sale of these products to Trading Standards.”
Anyone with information that could help police with their enquiries into the cannabis grow and the thefts of the motorbikes should call 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
You can report the sale of illegal tobacco to Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Central England Trading Standards Authorities anonymous automated hotline: 0300 303 2636 or online: https://centsa.org.uk/anonymous-hotline/