POLICE have swooped to seize black market tobacco products from a second Burton convenience store in a fortnight.
Officers discovered more than 6,000 illegal cigarettes and 7.5kg of rolling tobacco at the Polski Mini Market, in Horninglow Road.
The haul, which is to be passed on to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to carry out an investigation, was discovered two weeks to the day after a similar seizure was made less than a mile away at the Queen’s Supermarket, in Horninglow Road North.
Sergeant Dave Harris, from Staffordshire Police, said the latest raid, like the last one, had come about as a result of tip-offs from the public, and issued a warning to anyone tempted to buy cheap cigarettes.
He told the Mail: “One of our PCSOs was made aware of this after being told by a number of different people that the shop had cigarettes imported illegally from Eastern Europe and was selling them under the counter.
“The PCSO went to the shop and he could see something behind the counter that should not have been there. He called in another of our officers who went down and seized the cigarettes and started the investigation rolling.
“This quantity may be for an individual to boost their shop profits but it may be that someone is bringing in cigarettes on a weekly basis and distributing them to different shops in the area.
“If the cigarettes are sold at £3 that’s half the price you would normally pay, so it’s easy to see why people might be tempted, but by buying them you are committing an offence and if HMRC can identify people who have purchased these goods then I’m quite sure they will pursue it.
“This kind of activity costs a lot of money in revenue to the country and our message is, even if these people are not picked up bringing the goods in to the ports, they will be caught eventually.” The raid at the Queen’s Supermarket two weeks ago found 8,840 illegal cigarettes, including so-called ‘cheap whites’ — brands manufactured by criminal gangs for smuggling — as well as 5.1kg of tobacco. The latest haul included obscure Russian cigarettes alongside popular brands available in the UK, some of which bore health warnings originating from Spain and Belgium.
No-one from the Polski Mini Market was available for comment when the Mail visited yesterday.