Retailers on alert as dangerous fake fags flood county

30 November, 2007

Retailers in Leicestershire are being urged to look out for counterfeit cigarettes that contain pesticides, sand and pieces of plastic.

The caution follows an increase in the number of complaints from the public about cigarettes that are reported to taste unusual or have a strange smell.

In October, warnings from the public led officers from Leicestershire Trading Standards Service to seize counterfeit tobacco from a local shop.

The fakes are thought to have been smuggled into the UK by criminal gangs.

A market trader was also arrested after selling bootleg cigarettes to a 14-year-old volunteer. Both cases are currently being investigated.

Since Oct

1, radio frequency tags have been embedded in every packet of cigarettes produced for sale in Britain.

The technology allows Revenue & Customs officials to use hand-held electronic devices to determine whether an individual cigarette packet is bootleg or genuine, and whether or not duty has been paid on it.

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