Illegal tobacco and non-compliant vapes valued at more than £24,000 seized in North Northants Trading Standards clamp down

18 October 2023

Photo of plastic bag full of illegal tobacco and vape products

An ongoing operation tackling the illegal importation and sale of goods across North Northamptonshire saw the seizure of 111 packets of hand rolling tobacco, 866 packets of cigarettes and 1,042 non-compliant vapes last month.

In response to an increase in complaints and intelligence, officers from Trading Standards worked with partners at North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) Licensing and Northamptonshire Police to inspect four premises in Rushden.

A monetary value totalling approximately £24,541.60 was seized. This figure was reached by taking the average of the resale price for each product; £10,420 in vapes, £3,729.60 in hand rolling tobacco and £10,392 in illegal cigarettes.

“The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law. By working closely with our partners, we can tackle organised crime head on. The sale of illegal and illicit items is extremely dangerous for our communities, with these items causing a potentially harmful impact for anyone who purchases them. We are pleased to have been able to support this operation.”

Cllr David Brackenbury, the council’s Executive member for Growth and Regeneration at North Northamptonshire Council
“I’d like to thank the officers and teams involved with this latest enforcement action and ongoing investigation.

“Here in North Northamptonshire, there is zero tolerance for flouting the law in relation to tobacco products and the links this often has to wider criminality. There’s no place for this on our communities.

“I’d urge anyone who has concerns about the sale of illegal tobacco products and vapes to report it to Trading Standards North Northamptonshire via their website.”
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council
“Results like this really show the power of partnership working. People often think nothing of buying cheaper goods, particularly in the current climate, but there can be consequences for your health.

“Not only can illicit tobacco be bad for your health, it’s trade also undercuts legitimate businesses and can fund other serious crimes that impact our communities. Organised gangs are involved in many different crime types, including the distribution of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes. Tackling these gangs is a priority for us and I would urge anyone with information about those involved in crime to call us on 101, report online via or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Chief Inspector Tom Thompson, from Northamptonshire Police
“The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law.”Wendy Martin, Director, National Trading Standards