Croydon police seize £85,000 worth of fake Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco

Around £85,000 worth of counterfeit branded tobacco has been seized by police after a raid on a Croydon factory.

Along with council trading officers and a brand enforcement officer, police carried out the operation back in August, where they unearthed 4,600 50g packets of fake Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco.

Councillor Mark Watson praised the handling of the operation, and also singled out the contribution of the trading standards officers.

He said: “This is a truly marvellous result for our trading standards officers who, with the police, were able to coordinate and carry out a raid that has seriously dented what was obviously a highly organised criminal enterprise.”

Despite the counterfeit tobacco looking like the real deal, Mr Watson suggested that consumers would realise it was fake when they smoked it.

He said: “Anyone who bought them would not necessarily have realised anything was amiss until they smoked the tobacco, when the poor quality would have immediately become obvious.”

The illegal factory had been equipped to make large quantities of the fake tobacco, with officers finding heavy equipment required to make the counterfeit packets, as well as raw materials and recipes.

Officials estimated the material on site was sufficient to make a further £250,000 worth of fakes.

During July the criminal gang responsible had produced approximately £250,000 worth of product, equating to more than 13,000 packets of tobacco.

The raid represents the first time such a large-scale organised criminal manufacturing plant has been found in Croydon, and is also the biggest seizure of its kind made by the trading standards team.

Picture courtesy of Philippa Willitts, with thanks

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