Police seize £4.5k of counterfeit fags and spirits

Counterfeit tobacco is potentially lethal. Picture: Sean Bell
Counterfeit tobacco is potentially lethal. Picture: Sean Bell
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Illegal spirits and tobacco worth several thousands of pounds have been seized from stores.

Specialist police squads and Trading Standards officers swooped on five shops as part of a day of action in north and central Edinburgh earlier this week.

The extensive operation was launched as part of a major investigation by the city’s Trading Standards department.

Officers from Police Scotland’s Search and Recovery Team (SART) and CID seized a “significant amount” of counterfeit tobacco products and alcohol.

The goods, which had a total value of £4500, included around 70 litres of vodka and whisky valued at approximately £3000 and a large quantity of imported tobacco.

Staff from Imperial Tobacco and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs were also involved in the raids, alongside Stirling Council’s specialist dog, which has been trained to sniff out tobacco products concealed by smugglers.

A 29-year-old man was also arrested for an immigration offence during the operation.

A passer-by reported seeing a “trolley-full” of vodka and whisky being confiscated by officers at a shop in Granton on Tuesday afternoon.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston, of Edinburgh Division CID, said: “Officers seized around £4500 worth of counterfeit goods and made one arrest in relation to an immigration offence.

“This follows a similar operation we led in December and we will continue to thoroughly investigate those who choose to ignore the law surrounding the sale of counterfeit goods.

“If anyone is aware of counterfeit goods being sold to the public then I ask them to contact police immediately on 101 or Crimestoppers.”

Community safety leader Councillor Cammy Day said counterfeit tobacco contained potentially lethal ingredients.

He said: There is also evidence to suggest that by buying these products consumers are actually helping to fund other criminal activity, as the sellers often use the same routes for importing and distributing illegal drugs.

“Our Trading Standards team works closely with Police Scotland to identify where counterfeit tobacco is being sold in Edinburgh and we regularly carry out spot checks throughout the city.”