A massive crackdown on the “vile” trade in illicit tobacco has taken more than 35,000 cigarettes from the borough’s streets over the past week.
Trading standards chiefs made the seizures during a series of raids across Wigan.
Officials used sniffer dogs to trace the haul, which was spread over a number of locations and was hidden in secret compartments.
In total, 35,000 cigs and 50kg of illicit tobacco were captured in raids on two stores in Higher Ince and a private address in Whelley.
The seized products are now being examined while investigations continue.
No one has been arrested.
Wigan Council’s trading standards boss Julie
Middlehurst branded the illicit ciggie trade “vile”, saying unscrupulous dealers were by-passing regulations to sell them to children.
She added: “We are grateful to members of the public who gave us the information which enabled us to make these discoveries.
“We rely on this intelligence to help us stop illegal tobacco from being available on our streets.
“The illegal tobacco trade is a vile trade which makes it easier for children to access cigarettes smoking, takes advantage of cash-strapped families, and is unfair on law abiding local businesses.”
The team is encouraging any members of the public with information about the sale of illegal tobacco to contact them in confidence on 01942 827476 or firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not the first time trading standards have made such a substantial haul.
Last year, thousands of pounds worth of illegal cigarettes were seized following a sniffer dog raid at a town centre shop.
Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team executed a warrant on the premises on Leigh Road in Leigh which saw an illegal stash of 4,000 cigarettes and 1.7kg of tobacco being seized.
A warrant has also been executed at an address at Irvine Street, Leigh in relation to the same raid.
A trained sniffer dog was used to find the tobacco which was hidden in a purpose built concealed cupboard under the counter in the shop. Some of the tobacco is suspected to be counterfeit and is now being examined.