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Counterfeit cigarettes worth £13,000 seized in Bexley

PUBLISHED: 12:55 11 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:55 11 November 2014

Cigarettes

Cigarettes

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Counterfeit cigarettes often contain rogue ingredients such as human excrement

Counterfeit and illegal tobacco and cigarettes with a street value of more than £13,000 were seized in a Bexley convenience store earlier this month on November 5.

The London Borough of Bexley’s Trading Standards and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs raided the International Food Store, 66 Crayford High Street, Crayford and found 2.8kg of hand rolling tobacco and 11,780 cigarettes in secret compartments and above a false ceiling.

The items were seized as being counterfeit and non-duty paid. The raid on the premises took place as a result of concerns from members of the public.

Cabinet member for community safety and leisure, Alex Sawyer said: “This is a fantastic haul for our Trading Standards Team. Community minded residents have helped us to make sure we have removed these illegal and potentially very dangerous cigarettes and tobacco from our streets.

“Their help and the work of Bexley and the HMRC has ensured that no one will profit from these illegal goods.”

Counterfeit cigarettes are particularly dangerous to the public.

Seizures of counterfeit cigarettes in the past have found them to contain asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and human excrement. Many also contain much higher levels of toxic ingredients such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, lead, cadminium and arsenic than genuine brand-name cigarettes.

Fake cigarettes also pose a greater fire risk as they do not include designs that ensure that a lit cigarette will self-extinguish if not actively smoked.

This reduces the chances of them starting a fire if they are left burning in an ashtray, dropped, or if the smoker falls asleep.

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