Police seize more than 90,000 fake cigarettes from Beeston property

Police have seized more than 90,000 counterfeit cigarettes after executing a search warrant in the Beeston area of Leeds.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 4:45 pm
photo: West Yorkshire Police - Leeds South

Officers from south Leeds have warned of the dangers of illegal tobacco following the seizure, advising that counterfeit cigarettes 'can actually be more damaging to a person's health' than ordinary cigarettes.

According to police, the fakes are often made abroad using 'poor quality' materials, such as 'dangerous heavy metals, rat droppings and tea leaves' and that these are then made to look like popular brands.

They also said that, according to research, the counterfeits which are sold in cloned packaging contain 'much higher quantities of known carcinogens' - with 160 per cent more tar, 80 per cent more nicotine and 133 per cent more carbon monoxide.

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Police explained that this is because 'the people who make these use the cheapest ingredients they can possibly find', and that they also contain 'five times as much cadmium, nearly six times as much lead and high levels of arsenic'.

They said smuggled tobacco sees 'large quantities' of cigarettes arriving in the country without tax, and then are 'transported, distributed and sold illegally or on the black market'.

Police warned that criminal networks distribute this illegal tobacco locally, including in some cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco and other types of tobacco products such as shisha.

West Yorkshire Police revealed the seizure in a social media post which said: "Counterfeit cigarettes seized from a warrant in Beeston.

"Over 90,000 cigarettes were seized from the warrant.

"The dangers of illegal tobacco

"All cigarettes are harmful, but some illegal tobacco (e.g. counterfeit cigarettes) is made up of poor quality ingredients and can actually be more damaging to a person’s health than an ordinary cigarette.

"This is because the people who make these use the cheapest ingredients they can possibly find.

"Illegal tobacco can be cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco or other types of tobacco products like shisha.

"Smuggled tobacco sees large quantities of cigarettes arrive in the country without paying tax and then are transported, distributed and sold illegally or on the “black market”. Criminal networks distribute the cigarettes locally, and the loss of tax revenue means less money spent for your schools or hospitals.

"Fake cigarettes, meanwhile, are often made abroad using poor quality materials but are made to look like popular brands. They are usually very low quality and can contain ingredients not found in genuine products: dangerous heavy metals, rat droppings and tea leaves have all been found in tested products. They are sold cheaply and tax is not paid, while the criminals who supply them make huge profits.

"According to research, counterfeit cigarettes sold in packets looking almost identical to genuine brands, contain "much higher quantities of known carcinogens" than normal ones.

"They have five times as much cadmium, nearly six times as much lead and high levels of arsenic. They also contain 160 per cent more tar, 80 per cent more nicotine and 133 per cent more carbon monoxide."