Three people have been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences after police raids at a number of convenience stores across Northampton.
Police, working alongside officers from Trading Standards, Immigration, HMRC, Fire Protection and Northampton Borough Council Licensing Enforcement, visited six stores in the town last week..
As a result, three people were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and a large amount of illicit tobacco was seized.
Fire officers also uncovered potential offences relating to the use of rooms being used as living space above two of the stores and found evidence of multiple occupancy at another.
At one shop, 184 packets of cigarettes and 99 packs of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized. A further 32,400 cigarettes and 46.5Kg of hand rolling tobacco was discovered in a nearby van linked to the store.
At another shop, 108 Cyclone ‘blunts’ (tobacco leaves for making roll-ups) were seized because of concerns over their safety and legality.
Investigations are ongoing.
PC Chris Stevens, the Licensing Officer who led the operation, said: “This has been a great example of multi-agency working. The fines issued could run into thousands of pounds and will send out a strong message to business owners that flouting immigration and trading standards legislation will not be tolerated in this county.
“A search dog proved invaluable during the operation, helping to detect illicit tobacco. This was funded by the Northampton Community Safety Partnership.
“Similar operations are planned to take place over the coming months.”