Forces to combine to tackle Poole's black market tobacco trade

Bournemouth Echo: CLAMPING DOWN: Poole's black market tobacco trade CLAMPING DOWN: Poole's black market tobacco trade

TRADING standards and police have pledged to work alongside customs officers in a bid to smash Poole’s black market tobacco trade.

Borough of Poole will work with other agencies as part of the Smokefree South West initiative, launched today.

One of the campaign’s key aims is to reduce the numbers of people buying and being offered illegal tobacco in Poole.

Many of the counterfeit cigarettes and much of the rolling tobacco offered at cut prices will have been manufactured in unregulated environments and smuggled into the country by organised criminal gangs.

The amount of duty lost to the Treasury because of illegal tobacco is estimated by HM Revenue and Customs at £1.86billion a year.

Last year one of the country’s top three cigarette manufacturers warned the amount of tobacco bought in the UK which had avoided duty and taxes was set to soar.

Japan Tobacco International, the owner of UK-based Gallaher, blamed the duty hikes of the past two Budgets for fuelling the illegal practice. Research carried out in north west London revealed a huge range of illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco being sold for around half the retail price.

The average price of a packet of 20 cigarettes leapt to £7.46 after the last Budget.

Borough of Poole regulatory services manager Peter Haikin said: “Trading standards are committed to disrupting the supply of illegal tobacco across the south west and through this initiative we are able to gather intelligence to complete this task.

“Businesses should be aware that if illegal tobacco is being sold on their premises you are liable to a range of fines that could strip you of your livelihood.”

The campaign will run a public event in Poole’s Dolphin Shopping Centre on March 9 and 10, providing advice and campaign materials.

Smokefree South West director Fiona Andrews said: “The illegal tobacco market in the UK has halved in the last decade but still poses a real and present threat to children and local communities.

“Cigarettes and rolling tobacco are offered to our children at pocket money prices making it cheap and all too easy for our children to smoke and become addicted.”

The cause

The director of Public Health for Bournemouth and Poole Adrian Dawson said: “Smoking is the single most important preventable cause of ill health.

Bournemouth Echo:

“Illegal tobacco is often sold much cheaper than standard brands.

“This can make it easily affordable and therefore a deterrent in giving up.

“Illegal tobacco is not monitored or licensed so it is difficult to know the quality of its contents.

“Partners in Bournemouth and Poole are proactively working together as a tobacco control alliance to help people quit smoking as well as addressing local issues around illegal tobacco sales.

“Our communities are also getting involved with activities such as litter picks to help inform us of which types of illegal tobacco are circulating.

“We need to continue this effort in supporting people to give up smoking.”

FACTFILE

  • SINCE 2000 more than 20 billion cigarettes with a value of around £4.5billion have been seized by HMRC
  • HMRC has also confiscated more than 2,700 tonnes of hand rolling tobacco since 2000.
  • MORE than 3,000 criminals have been successfully prosecuted and more than £48million in confiscation orders secured to recover the proceeds of crime.

Comments (6)

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2:58pm Mon 25 Feb 13

simcal says...

Reduce the duty on legal tobacco and then the smuggled tobacco won't be so popular. It's less than half price of shop bought tobacco.
Reduce the duty on legal tobacco and then the smuggled tobacco won't be so popular. It's less than half price of shop bought tobacco. simcal
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Mon 25 Feb 13

HRH of Boscombe says...

Sod off HMRC. Your estimated losses are based on the ludicrous duty and tax you impose. I'll gladly line a smuggler's pockets over yours.
.
If the govt really wanted to get rid of tobacco then ban the sale of it all together. Let existing smokers get cigarettes from the pharmacy with a prescription at cost or prescription price.
.
So long as prices are so high here you will NEVER stop a black market in a product that is actually really cheap. Same old story though with the govt. Any problem 'let's fill our pockets' instead of addressing the real issues.
Sod off HMRC. Your estimated losses are based on the ludicrous duty and tax you impose. I'll gladly line a smuggler's pockets over yours. . If the govt really wanted to get rid of tobacco then ban the sale of it all together. Let existing smokers get cigarettes from the pharmacy with a prescription at cost or prescription price. . So long as prices are so high here you will NEVER stop a black market in a product that is actually really cheap. Same old story though with the govt. Any problem 'let's fill our pockets' instead of addressing the real issues. HRH of Boscombe
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Mon 25 Feb 13

rotcoddam says...

Totally agree with previous and i,m a non smoker. When a perfectly legal to purchase sell and use product is involved in the level of theft by govenment that tobacco is you are going to get a black market in it. The worry is if they get people to stop smokkng where the heck will the billions of pounds per day of taxation lost be made up. And before the cost to the health service nonsense is brought up smoking taxes raise farmlre money than the total health servkce budget
Totally agree with previous and i,m a non smoker. When a perfectly legal to purchase sell and use product is involved in the level of theft by govenment that tobacco is you are going to get a black market in it. The worry is if they get people to stop smokkng where the heck will the billions of pounds per day of taxation lost be made up. And before the cost to the health service nonsense is brought up smoking taxes raise farmlre money than the total health servkce budget rotcoddam
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Mon 25 Feb 13

manyogie says...

Its difficult to know the quality of its contents.
2 words for you,
Beef Lasagne.
Its difficult to know the quality of its contents. 2 words for you, Beef Lasagne. manyogie
  • Score: 0

7:35pm Mon 25 Feb 13

Lord Spring says...

Brandy for Parson,
Baccy for the Clerk.
Brandy for Parson, Baccy for the Clerk. Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

11:41pm Mon 25 Feb 13

Hessenford says...

So just what is the issue here, is this trade illegal because it's so cheap that children can get hold of them or is it because the government are losing out on the tax not being paid.
This government are so two faced, they hike the prices on the pretense to stop people smoking then they moan that they have lost £1,86 billion in duty because of illegal ciggies.
So what will happen if their plan works by pricing fags to high that everybody stops smoking, where will the lost revenue come from, what's next,price petrol so high that we cant afford to drive, who will make up the revenue from lost petrol sales which amounts to billions per year, they are all two faced, they hike prices on popular goods because they know we cant do without them, always fags, petrol and booze, thankfully I dont drink but I do drive and thankfully I get loads of cut price ciggies from non smokers who bring their limit back from within Europe, not cheap as the foreign rubbish but still a great saving over the year and of course one in the eye for the chancellor.
So just what is the issue here, is this trade illegal because it's so cheap that children can get hold of them or is it because the government are losing out on the tax not being paid. This government are so two faced, they hike the prices on the pretense to stop people smoking then they moan that they have lost £1,86 billion in duty because of illegal ciggies. So what will happen if their plan works by pricing fags to high that everybody stops smoking, where will the lost revenue come from, what's next,price petrol so high that we cant afford to drive, who will make up the revenue from lost petrol sales which amounts to billions per year, they are all two faced, they hike prices on popular goods because they know we cant do without them, always fags, petrol and booze, thankfully I dont drink but I do drive and thankfully I get loads of cut price ciggies from non smokers who bring their limit back from within Europe, not cheap as the foreign rubbish but still a great saving over the year and of course one in the eye for the chancellor. Hessenford
  • Score: 0

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