Illicit cigarettes seized in trading standards operation

Published Thursday, 16th May 2019
Cigarette in ash tray
Cigarette in ash tray

More than 70,000 suspected illicit cigarettes have been taken off the streets in a major trading standards operation in Rotherham.

Council enforcement officers, assisted by police and sniffer dog specialists executed a number of warrants in the borough following test purchases and intelligence received.

Four premises were searched as a result of this information and a significant quantity of suspected illicit cigarettes were seized, along with 148 packets of suspect rolling tobacco. Investigations are ongoing following the seizures.

Following the raids, Rotherham Council is again warning people of the dangers of smoking black market cigarettes. As well as the risks to health, some of these illicit cigarettes do not go out when they are not actively being smoked and continue to burn, resulting in a fire hazard.

Rotherham Council’s Assistant Director for Community Safety and Street Scene, Tom Smith, said smokers should be on their guard against buying suspect cigarettes or tobacco.

“Smokers who buy either brands such as Jin Ling, Pect or Minsk, or counterfeit versions of well-known brands, could be putting themselves at serious risk from these dangerous items,” he said.

“These illicit cigarettes typically retail for between £3 and £4 and we would urge anyone who is aware of premises selling suspect brands or counterfeit items to report it.

“We will continue to act on intelligence received and target premises suspected of being involved in this illicit activity to prevent harm to the public.”

Anyone who wishes to report concerns around suspect cigarettes should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.

Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service


Jin Ling, Minsk, Pect and other illicit brands of cigarettes do not comply with EU legislation introduced in 2011 concerning Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) or ‘fire safe’ cigarettes.
Under the regulations, all cigarettes sold in the EU must be designed with two narrow bands of slightly thicker paper which greatly reduce the likelihood of unattended cigarettes continuing to burn, dramatically cutting the risk of fire.
Counterfeit cigarettes, as well as the above brands which are imported from outside the EU, do not meet the standards above and constitute a fire risk.