From: Ipswich Star
Black market cigarettes and tobacco have been seized after four shops were targeted in Ipswich.
The seizures were made during the joint operation between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers and Suffolk trading standards officers.
During the operation contraband was found in a concealed unit in one of the convenience stores.
A total of 1,680 cigarettes and 700 grams of hand rolling tobacco with an estimated duty loss of £1,500 were discovered during the visits.
Although a relatively small number of illegal goods were found, it is not unusual when officers visit stores suspected of selling black market cigarettes.
Often the shopkeepers only keep enough stock for the sales they expect to make on one day. The contraband is then replenished on a daily basis by their suppliers.
In one of the shops targeted officers found Jin Ling cigarettes, a brand not legally available in the UK.
The cigarettes were found after officers uncovered a hidden compartment in the bottom of a cigarette display unit.
In the past smokers looking for a bargain have been warned not to buy the bootleg brand of cigarettes from Russia, after it was found to contain asbestos.
At the time Jin Ling cigarettes were said to be twice as strong as an ordinary cigarettes.
Many of those tested were revealed to contain toxins such as industrial chemicals and asbestos-lined Chinese drywall.
The brand is specifically created for the black market.