Police have seized thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco hidden inside a disguised false wall in a Huddersfield town centre shop.
Huddersfield Town Centre Policing Team and West Yorkshire Trading Standards found hundreds of packets of illegal cigarettes and vapes at an unnamed shop on Thursday January 11.
The seizure followed on from the discovery of more than £100,000-worth of carefully concealed illegal and potentially dangerous tobacco in Dewsbury last October.
Contraband from those raids was found stored in locations including a hinged wall hidden behind a bathroom mirror and a concealed cupboard hidden behind a false fuse board.
In the latest seizure in Huddersfield officers found illegal materials concealed within a false wall, with access gained via a disguised electrically controlled hatch.
A total of 144 packets of cigarettes were found in Thursday’s operation as well as 231 illegal vapes and a number of large packets of rolling tobacco.
Police and trading standards officers have now recovered significant quantities of illegal tobacco and vape goods in a series of operations over the last 12 months.
It known that proceeds from the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes can be used to fund organised criminal enterprise.
Insp Mark Pattinson, of Kirklees Police, said: “People may see the sale of illegal cigarettes as not as harmful as other types of criminality but it is well proven that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime.
“These illegal products can also be more harmful to public health due to lack of regulation and testing and it is important we act to restrict their sales.
“In this latest operation officers discovered a significant quantity of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes inside the premises which the owners had attempted to conceal within a false wall, with access gained via a disguised electrically controlled hatch.”
He added: “All of the illegal items were seized by trading standards and will be destroyed. None of us want to see organised crime in our neighbourhoods and I encourage residents to keep contacting us with any information which can help us disrupt criminal activity and the sale of illegal goods.
”Reports can be given to the Trading Standards confidential reporting system at www.keep-it-out.co.uk or via independent crime prevention charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”