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Conwy North Wales

£10,000 fines introduced to tackle illicit tobacco

OFFICERS from Conwy Trading Standards welcome new sanctions which mean businesses and individuals selling illicit tobacco can receive a penalty of up to £10,000.

Trading Standards officers now have the power to refer cases to HMRC for further investigation where businesses or individuals have been found to sell illicit tobacco. Depending on the severity of the breach, rule-breaking businesses and individuals could:

· Receive a penalty of between £2,500 and £10,000 for the supply of products which contravene Tobacco Track & Trace (TT&T)

· Have all their tobacco products seized

· Lose their license to buy tobacco for resale in the UK by having their Economic Operator ID withdrawn

The new powers build on the successful work of Operation CeCe, a joint initiative between HMRC and National Trading Standards to tackle the illicit tobacco trade, which has removed 27 million illicit cigarettes and 7,500kg of hand rolling tobacco from sale in its first two years.

Trade in illicit tobacco damages legitimate businesses, undermines public health and costs the exchequer over £2 billion in lost tax revenue each year.

Councillor, Emily Owen, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regulatory Services said, “Taking illegal tobacco off our streets remains a priority for Conwy Trading Standards Officers. Illicit tobacco funds organised crime gangs, slavery and targets vulnerable young people as well as damaging our communities and businesses in Conwy – so we welcome the changes to the law”.

John Donnelly Principal Trading and Licencing Officer said, “Our officers continue to work in a strong partnership with colleagues in North Wales Police and HMRC to share intelligence, target organised crime and use all the tools available such as CCTV and cash/ tobacco detection dogs to prevent fake, dangerous and illicit goods being sold in Conwy.”