Trading standards - news
We're raising public awareness of the damage that sales of illegal tobacco have on local communities and the links with organised crime gangs.
Illegal tobacco is tobacco that is smuggled, bootlegged or counterfeit; here's what to look out for:
Smuggled - often linked to large-scale organised crime; generally legitimately manufactured products, illegally transported, distributed and sold evading payment of tax. Signs to look out for: foreign brand names and health warnings, no picture health warnings.
Bootlegged - purchased in quantity in a country with a low level of taxation and illegally brought into and sold in the UK, evading payment of tax. Generally popular brand names, foreign health warnings.
Counterfeit - illegally manufactured from inferior materials, more often manufactured abroad but sometimes in the UK. They are sold cheaply and tax-free. Popular brands, often with no picture health warnings, unusual or discoloured packaging, spelling mistakes, misplaced logos or odd fonts.
Does it really have links to organised crime gangs?
The recession and falling demand has forced many drug gangs to turn to selling illegal tobacco to vulnerable people as a source of easy cash. They will even sell to kids or get kids to sell for them. Some examples:
Seven members of a smuggling gang who illegally imported 20m cigarettes disguised as toys through a Suffolk port were jailed
A criminal gang was jailed for setting up a factory potentially capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year. The gang was planning to expand into counterfeit alcohol.
Customs officers seize 30 MILLION cigarettes in shipment supposed to contain wind turbines. Read more in Daily Mail.
Fake tobacco harms you
Tests on counterfeit tobacco products have found them to contain more tar and nicotine than genuine cigarettes - they are after all unregulated. Other impurities have included sawdust, rat droppings, up to six times the level of lead and three times the level of arsenic found in ordinary cigarettes. You don’t need to be a scientist to work out that this can’t be good for you!
Illegal tobacco is easily available and cheap, making it a key reason why children and young people are able to start smoking.
Help get fake fags off our streets.
Do you know who’s dealing in illegal tobacco? Where is it being sold?
Call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You won't be asked for your name or contact details. Alternatively, contact Trading Standards on 0845 4040506.
On 1 February 2013 the Government launched its new Green Deal. This allows people to take out long term loans to help improve the insulation of their property.
Trading standards has already received complaints about unscrupulous door step sellers using scare tactics to persuade residents to sign up. Your Trading standards service would recommend:
- Don’t be pressured into signing at the door, if you are, remember you have 7 days to change your mind
- Keep the door chain on
- Don’t allow people into your property unless you are absolutely sure you know who they are
- Make sure you are shown an ID and keep any paperwork you are provided.
If you would like to take advantage of this scheme the council’s sustainable energy officer will be able to provide you details of trust worthy traders. Hazel Hill 01344 352536, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trading standards sampling at the gallop!
Bracknell is one of twenty eight authorities nationwide that have been asked by the Food Standards Agency to sample meat products in light of recent issues with horse meat in meat products.
Officers have been visiting a selection of businesses across the borough to sample the meat products. Any samples that fail will be investigated by Bracknell Trading standards.
Local football club details misused
Trading Standards have offered their support to Binfield Football Club who have discovered that their details have been misused on a website registered to an address in Nigeria.
Whilst further investigations are conducted, Bracknell Forest Trading Standards inform the public that the website, www.binfieldfootballacademy.co.uk is not in any way affiliated to Binfield Football Club in Bracknell Forest, whose official club website can be found at www.binfieldfc.com.
Yule end up getting caught
A businessman has been prosecuted following the sale of dangerous counterfeit novelty items. Read our press release for more details.