THREE raids were carried out at premises in Conwy County yesterday (November 23) targeting sellers of illicit tobacco and illegal vapes. 

Following a number of complaints, officers from Conwy Trading Standards, supported by officers from Operation Cece, Wagtail UK and Immigration Enforcement, visited and inspected three premises, and seized a quantity of illicit products.

Items were seized from all three premises, with more than 400 illegal disposable vapes with tank sizes in excess of the legal limit (some giving up to 10,000 puffs instead of the allowed 600 puffs) and almost 3,000 illicit cigarettes and 1.5kgs of hand rolling tobacco confiscated.

The seized items represent a clear health risk to the general public, due to it not being clear what they actually contain. 

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The sale of these items also puts other businesses who sell legitimate products at risk, because they lose business.

Trading Standards Wales said: “Smoking kills over 5000 people in Wales every year and half of all long term smokers will die as a direct consequence of their habit. Illegal tobacco is cigarettes or rolling tobacco that has been smuggled and where no duty has been paid.

“This means it can be sold for less than half the price of legitimate tobacco in the informal economy creating a significant problem in our communities.

“It makes it much easier for children to access tobacco and vapes and acquire a lifelong addiction and it makes it much harder for existing smokers to quit.

“The results of these raids demonstrate how effective joint operations can be.

“Illegal tobacco is distributed and supplied through organised criminal networks - this is often linked to other criminal activity and brings crime into our local communities.”