AROUND 6,000 suspected illicit cigarettes have been found and seized during an operation.

The Barnsley Council Regulatory Services Officer and colleagues from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), along with a team of sniffer dogs carried out am operation which saw a number of Barnsley business premises visited to make sure that only duty paid cigarettes and alcohol were being sold.

Coun Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “I am delighted that our officers are able to work in close partnership with HMRC. Hopefully such operations will serve as a lesson to local businesses not to trade in these illicit and potentially dangerous products.”

Eden Noblett, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, added: “The sale of illegal tobacco undermines legitimate traders and deprives our public services of vital funding. We will continue to work closely with partner agencies to clamp down on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”