West Yorkshire Police find £50,000 of illicit tobacco hidden in 'James Bond style' secret room accessible by CD

A cigarette scam was uncovered by cops after a secret 'James Bond-style' room was found at a newsagents - which could only be accessed by slotting a CD into a WALL.

Friday, 13th October 2017, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 2:21 am
The newsagents where the discovery was made

The illicit tobacco scheme worth around £50,000 was revealed in a tiny upstairs room which was turned over by West Yorkshire Police cops.

Officers say the haul, which included 2,000 packets of cigarettes, would have never been located if not for the brilliance of their well-trained sniffer dogs.

They say their hounds found an extra room boasting a false wall with an electromagnet fitted which could only be opened by sliding a CD into a gap in the wall.

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The newsagent

West Yorkshire Licensing Officer Richard Woodhead told Kirklees Council licensing panel: "This was a complex, almost James Bond-style way, of hiding illegal tobacco."

The sophisticated cover-up was found by a joint police and trading standards venture at Kingsgate News in Huddersfield, West Yorks., in July this year.

Kirklees Licencing committee voted to revoke Kingsgate News' licence to sell alcohol - but the business can still sell cigarettes over the counter.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said because there was no proof the illicit cigarettes were being sold on the premises the business could carry on selling legal ones.

The illicit tobacco found by police

PC Steve Nicholls of Kirklees District Police, who led the Operation, said: "We are incredibly pleased with the results achieved - it was a great success.

"A lot of planning went into this operation with our partner agencies - I would like to thank them all for their support and expertise up to and during the weekend.

"The items which were seized at market value came to several thousand pounds and we were able to make the streets of Huddersfield safer by taking illegal and illicit cigarettes and counterfeit goods from the shelves."

West Yorkshire Cops found 48,800 cigarettes that were non-UK Duty paid.

The illicit tobacco found by police

Officers also discovered more than 400 packs of rolling tobacco and hundreds of foreign smoking accessories such as rolling papers.

David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: "All tobacco is harmful, but the supply of illegal cigarettes seriously undermines the drive to reduce smoking, fuels organised criminality and is often a gateway for young people to becoming addicted to a habit which prematurely kills over half its users."

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson says the current newsagent proprietor at Kingsgate News was not aware of the tobacco being stored upstairs.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards say its previous owner Bafir Hussain could not be traced.

The illicit tobacco found by police

West Yorkshire Police have been contacted for further comment.

The newsagent
The illicit tobacco found by police
The illicit tobacco found by police
The illicit tobacco found by police