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Hereford Voice

More Shop Raids in Hereford and Ross

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RAIDS to discover illegal tobacco were carried out at two shops in Hereford and one in Ross-on-Wye and led to 21,000 cigarettes being seized.

 

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On Tuesday around 20 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from West Mercia Police, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and Herefordshire Council visited three shops.
 
At International Food in Commercial Road, Hereford, officers discovered cigarettes inside a hidden compartment that was fitted with an electro-magnetic lock and operated by a key fob.
 
When the fob is pressed, the electromagnet is switched off and the inside of the wall slides out on runners.
 
Raids were also carried out at Europe Quality Food in Brookend Street in Ross and Zabka in Eign Gate in Hereford.
 
Across the three shops there were 21,000 cigarettes seized as well as 8.7 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, which are suspected to be illegal.
 
In addition, £1,600 was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
 
Sergeant Duncan Reynolds, of West Mercia Police, said: "We are continually building up our intelligence picture to identify those individuals and businesses who are operating outside of the law and a number of future enforcement operations are planned."
 
A tobacco dog and their handler helped officers uncover cigarettes hidden in various parts of the shops.
 
Herefordshire Council’s principal Trading Standards officer, Tim Thorne, said: “We will continue to work with partner agencies to tackle serious criminals and protect honest local business and consumers."
 
All three shop owners were interviewed by HMRC officers and investigations are ongoing.
 
Richard Young, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year."
 
He added: "We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887 or report it online."
 
 
Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.

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So much happens at Zabka. In Eign Gate. I don't even know if it currently has a booze licence to confiscate. If it has I'm not aware of how The Council could refuse a new booze application if the person 'fronted up' has a clean record with no links to the previous regime(s). Zabka is obviously forming a small piece of a major criminal pyramid. Chipping away at the bottom of the chain is obviously not solving any sort of problem. A new and expendable stooge, or stooges, will always appear to replace the anonymous people who were previously caught. 

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Wondering when these idiots who spend so much time hiding tobacco will learn that sniffer dogs will always find

their stash wherever they hide it.

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The problem is Rag, they're not the idiots. It's us and the investigative teams who are tasked to investigate these offences. These idiots my good old friend know that they're going to get a 'knock' every so often and they're more than happy to lose a stash now and then. They couldn't care less!

The approach to this problem is all wrong. It's no different to the Police standing in HighTown searching a few kids and bagging up a few blimps of resin and then proclaiming that 'we're fighting back against the importation of huge loads of Cannabis.' It's simply low hanging fruit and unfortunately each time they pick a bit off and conduct one single operation the cost to the public is somewhere in the region of forty thousand quid.

Instead of wasting their time and our money going round and round in a pointless cycle they should climb the ladder, recruit a good grass and treat it for what it is, organised crime, and do some some long term surveillance to develop some conspiracy charges and hit someone somewhere near the top of the pyramid.

As things stand, I'd sooner see them do buggar all than continue doing something that they'd probably readily acknowledge has been a complete waste of time. What they're doing is a pointless excercise in futility!

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I've just spoken to someone who went to the International Food shop on Commercial Road, Hereford this morning. They bought 50g of Cutters Choice hand rolling tobacco. Very cheap. I've seen the yellow pouch and it's a bona fide product as opposed to counterfeit. Obviously packaged for sale in Luxembourg. So the cops' who read this site can make of that what they will. I interpret this as the shop just sticking two fingers up at the system. Yet again. They couldn't care less. 

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Of course it’s bona fida. The only difference is “we†shop in the uk and they shop in “Luxembourgâ€. It comes in via car for the most part; after a quick visit to the family and friends back home. They take the risk doing so.

Bit like the brits taking a day trip to “Eastenders†wholesalers for fags and booze in the 80/90s!!

It’ll never stop. The authorities are always playing catch-up.

 

It’s the same as the Coke traffickers. For every Kilo that gets found, FIVE HUNDRED kilo get through. Remember those bales that washed up on the Norfolk coast a while back?

https://news.sky.com/story/cocaine-worth-50m-washes-up-on-norfolk-beaches-10762523

 

And wales. And that’s what didn’t get through.

https://walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/cocaine-washed-up-welsh-beach-2195779

 

As an idea of cost/profit; it cost around £30 to produce a kilo in Colombia. By the time it hits the uk/USA it retails around £$60 a gram. That a 200000% increase in profit. A few kilos being caught is small fry to the big boys.

I digress........

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These shops are just taking the pi*%. Get busted and they are fully operational the next day. Hoping for a couple of weeks/months until the next bust. Just a joke. 

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