Crimestoppers are warning about purchasing cigarettes from ‘the man on the street’ or ‘the back of the van’.
Many of these cigarettes are often counterfeit and contain illicit tobacco, which is not only illegal to sell in this country, but can also be dangerous as it can contains chemicals such as rat poison.
It is estimated that smoking 20 fake cigarettes is equivalent to smoking 100 regular cigarettes and non UK duty-paid cigarettes are estimated to have cost the taxpayer up to £3.6bn in revenue during the 2009-10 financial year.
Sue Witts, vice chair of Crimestoppers Leicestershire and Rutland committee said: “Dealers are often also involved in more serious organised crime including drug and human trafficking, prostitution and violence. By catching these criminals we can also put an end to a catalogue of crime affecting society at all levels. What’s more, it also costs the rest of the law abiding public.”
If you suspect there is illicit tobacco or counterfeit cigarettes being sold in your area, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.