Two multi-agency operations took place across Peterborough in January in a bid to crack down on illegal vapes and tobacco being distributed in the city.

The two operations together saw 1,767 vapes, 4.35 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, and 58,060 cigarettes seized.

The first operation, which took place on January 24, was part of Operation Sustainable, which was a police-led, multi-agency initiative to improve wellbeing and drive down crime in local communities.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards led the enforcement operation, which saw Cambridgeshire Police, the Environmental Health team at Peterborough City Council, and HMRC join forces.

Three shops were visited as part of the operation, where teams uncovered 954 vapes, 3.85 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, and 19,520 cigarettes.

Operation Cece took place a week later, which was an HMRC co-ordinated operation to crack down on illegal tobacco. 

The team returned to a shop that had all of its illegal stock seized the previous week, only for sniffer dogs to uncover a secret hide of 20,000 illegal cigarettes.

Across all of the shops raided on that day, 813 vapes, 0.5 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, and 38,540 illegal cigarettes were seized.

Enforcement sanctions will be imposed on all of the shops, as well as the commencement of two criminal prosecutions and a closure order.

These two operations have prevented illegal vape, tobacco and cigarette sales in Peterborough.

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Jacqui Harvey, Head of Operations for Peterborough City Council’s Regulatory Services said: “These ongoing, targeted enforcement operations send a clear message to the organised crime gangs that the sale of illegal tobacco and nicotine products won’t be tolerated in Peterborough, and we are committed to taking a hard line with anyone we uncover perpetrating these crimes."

Anyone who would like to share intelligence or suspicions on this criminal activity can report it anonymously to, or speak to Citizen's Advice.