Plans to sell £100k of illegal cigs go up in smoke when police raid unit on the outskirts of Rugby

Three stolen motorbikes and 75 cannabis plants were also found on the site

Monday, 28th June 2021, 5:37 pm
Some of the illegal tobacco discovered. Photo: Warwickshire Police.
Some of the illegal tobacco discovered. Photo: Warwickshire Police.

Someone's nefarious scheme involving cannabis and more than £100k of illegal tobacco went up in smoke when police and trading standards officers raided a building on the outskirts of Rugby last week.

Three stolen motorbikes, a cannabis grow and more than £100,000 worth of illegal tobacco were all seized when officers from Rugby Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) carried out a joint operation with Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards on Friday, June 18.

The intelligence-led raid took place on the outskirts of the town at what police described as a 'business premises'.

75 cannabis plants were also discovered. Photo: Warwickshire Police.

Sniffer dogs quickly identified an illegal tobacco store where 13,846 packs of cigarettes and 2,166 packs of Hand Rolling Tobacco (50g) were discovered.

Trading Standards officers believe the was being split into smaller quantities so it could be sold in shops across the county.

Officers from trading standards are presently investigating the illegal tobacco, while police are looking to track down those behind the stolen motorbikes and the 75 cannabis plants.

No arrests have been made but police are appealing to the public for information.

Sergeant Shaun Haywood from Rugby SNT said: “Excellent partnership work with our colleagues at the council has resulted in significant disruption to this criminal enterprise and resulted in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of illegal items being taken off the streets.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, portfolio holder for Community Safety said: “Illegal cigarettes are sold at pocket money prices and the criminals who sell them don’t care who their customers are, making it easier for children and young people to buy cigarettes and get hooked on smoking.

“The seizure of over £100,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco will represent a significant blow to the criminals seeking to distribute and sell these products in Warwickshire.

“The sale of illegal cigarettes is a threat to the health of our young people and their availability makes it harder for smokers to quit. The illegal tobacco trade also has strong links with organised crime and criminal gangs involved in drug dealing, money laundering, people trafficking and terrorism.

“Help us to keep illegal cigarettes off Warwickshire’s streets by reporting the sale of these products to Trading Standards.”

Anyone with information that could help police with their enquiries into the cannabis grow and the thefts of the motorbikes should call 101.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

You can report the sale of illegal tobacco to Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Central England Trading Standards Authorities anonymous automated hotline: 0300 303 2636 or online: centsa.org.uk/anonymous-hotline