Dangers of counterfeit products

Illegal tobacco destruction at Makerfield Way, Ince
Illegal tobacco destruction at Makerfield Way, Ince

WIGAN trading standards officials are warning residents of the risks of buying counterfeit alcohol and tobacco products.

Although the pull of being able to buy cut price products may be even stronger over the Christmas period, Wiganers are being told it is not worth the risk.

As using the illegal products could mean a criminal record and they pose serious health risks.

Wigan trading standards say examples of counterfeit vodka and whisky recovered this year have proved to be unfit for human consumption.

And counterfeit cigarettes have been found to contain harmful chemicals used as tobacco substitutes as well as sawdust and even human excrement.

Trading Standards manager Julie Middlehurst told the Evening Post: “Unregulated cigarettes make it easier for young children to buy them and we have seen examples of this in the borough.

“There is a real health risk as many of the packs are counterfeit that contain harmful products.

“We also want to protect our legitimate traders who may be losing out.”

Over the last two years, council officials have recovered more than 145,000 illicit cigarettes and 105kg of illicit tobacco.

The seizures were from a mixture of shops, pubs and private houses. In one of the largest investigations 53,000 cigarettes and 12kg of tobacco were seized from one house found selling to neighbours following a tip off.

Illicit packs have been found on sale in the Wigan borough for as little as £3 a pack of cigarettes or £7 for a 50g pouch of tobacco.

Anyone who wishes to report illegal tobacco or any underage sales to Trading Standards in confidence can ring 01942 827476 or email: ts@wigan.gov.uk. They can also ring Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.