Tackling the illegal sale of cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco across Leicestershire a main focus for Trading Standards

Latest news
Latest news

Leicestershire County Council was tipped off more than 30 times during 2017/18 about retailers selling cigarettes to children.

During the last financial year council officers visited 110 retailers and investigated 34 reports of retailers selling tobacco products to children.

Across the county 95 per cent of retailers were found to comply with regulations about the age-restricted sale of tobacco.

In the same time period the trading standards team also received 41 complaints alleging the illicit supply of counterfeit tobacco which identified 25 shops in Leicestershire selling under the counter products.

This led to Leicestershire Trading Standards executing 12 entry warrants which resulted in proceedings against 15 defendants.

The figures were revealed as councillors approved the 2018/19 enforcement programme at a recent cabinet meeting.

Gary Connors, head of regulatory services at LCC, told cabinet members that the illegal and illicit supply of tobacco remains a main focus of enforcement for the county council.

He added: “Under counter sales threaten legitimate businesses and offer a cheaper and unregulated method of supply.”

Leader of the council, Councillor Nick Rushton said: “Under counter sales are not only illegal and illicit, when it comes to tobacco the legal stuff is bad enough, the tobacco that’s in these illegal packets is even worse.

“Some of levels of nicotine in the illegal ones might say say 2mg on the packet when it’s actually more like 20mg so it’s really important that we do clamp down on those.”

Cllr Rushton asked if enforcement work also covers the sales of acid and bleach.

Mr Connors told the cabinet that test purchases of acid and bleach are not currently carried out but reassured councillors that the department would always respond to complaints or concerns.

The county council is required to approve an enforcement programme by law. The legislation is designed to protect children from the health risks associated with smoking tobacco.