No Smoking Day raids see massive haul of 67,000 illegal cigarettes seized from Leeds suburbs

Picture by Martin Rickett/ PA Wire.
Picture by Martin Rickett/ PA Wire.

More than 9kg of illicit hand rolling tobacco and 67,000 illegal cigarettes were confiscated following raids in Leeds on No Smoking Day.

Officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards’ (WYTS) illegal tobacco team carried out the activity last week after a series of tip-offs.

The raids linked to the organisation’s ‘Keep it Out’ campaign, which is funded by five West Yorkshire councils and has been trying to reduce supply and demand for illegal tobacco in the region since 2014.

The latest seizures take the organisation’s haul of illegal cigarettes past the one million mark.

The illegal items, which included suspected counterfeit, incorrectly labelled and non-duty paid goods, were recovered from retail outlets in Beeston, Harehills, Armley and Otley.

David Lodge, head of WYTS, said: “Those involved in dealing in illegal tobacco may be encouraging people, including children to smoke by providing a cheap source.

“We, along with partners such as HM Revenue and Customs and local authorities including Leeds City Council, have been working to cut the supply of and demand for cheap illegal tobacco.”

Coun Pauline Grahame, deputy chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of WYTS, added: “Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in illegal tobacco.

”It’s low price and easy availability encourages people to keep smoking, and children and young people are often targeted by unscrupulous traders.”

Anyone who knows where illegal tobacco is being sold is urged to report it anonymously online at or by calling 0300 9990000.