Tackling illegal tobacco in Ilfracombe

18:42 26 February 2013

Authorities hope to break the illegal tobacco trade across Devon.

Authorities hope to break the illegal tobacco trade across Devon.

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People and businesses encourage to report sales of illegal tobacco following launch of a Devon-wide campaign.

A combined campaign is being launched to prevent the sale of illegal tobacco in Ilfracombe.

Building on the Devon-wide campaign launched on Monday by Smokefree South West, people and businesses in Ilfracombe are being called on to support efforts to stub out the illegal trade.

The local initiative has come about through the One Ilfracombe community budgets scheme, with different agencies working together to tackle the problem.

The illegal trade is worth an estimated £211million in the South West, but although some smokers might think they are ‘saving a few quid’, it is feared the low prices help encourage children to smoke.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has said proceeds from the practice can also go towards funding organised crime.

“This is one of the areas we as partners can work far more effectively together,” said One Ilfracombe Operational Lead Andrea Beacham.

“Illegal tobacco sales can easily be overlooked as it’s no single agency’s responsibility. The health impacts of illegal over even legal tobacco are well documented and these traders target young people to start smoking with ‘pocket-money prices’.

“It may sound dramatic to say it’s also about trying to remove organised crime in our community, but evidence shows the illegal tobacco trade is also linked with drug and even people trafficking. “We can tackle all of this much better with a co-ordinated approach that involves the business community, educational work and all of our partners.”

The partners include Devon County Council Trading Standards, Ilfracombe Town Council, the police, Smokefree South West, HMRC and health agencies.

Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco can do so anonymously online via Trading Standards at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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