Friday, 21 August 2015 08:17:02 AM
***Editor’s note: Vision and images from yesterday’s raids will be sent to media via Hightail shortly.***
Police seized thousands of packets of illicit tobacco during an operation in Sydney’s south yesterday (Thursday 20 August 2015).
The operation was undertaken by officers attached to the South West Metropolitan Region, Campsie Local Area Command, and St George Local Area Command, with the assistance of the State Crime Command Property Crime Squad, and targeted businesses believed to be involved in the sale of illicit tobacco.
Overall, police seized a combined total of 1,476 cartons of cigarettes (approximately 14,700 individual packets) from nine different retail businesses. The total combined retail value of the seized tobacco is estimated to be approximately $190,000.
The businesses – which were either tobacconists or supermarkets – were all located in either Campsie (five businesses raided) or Hurstville (four businesses raided).
During the operation, police also seized 57 glass pipes, used for smoking illicit drugs like ‘Ice’, from one of the tobacconists in Campsie.
The Commander of the Property Crime Squad, Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman, said counterfeit cigarettes and illegal tobacco not only impact on the legitimate businesses they seek to exploit, but the wider economy as well.
“The sale of illicit tobacco generates significant profits, even when sold at much lower prices than those of legal products,” Det Supt Chapman said.
“However, unlike legal tobacco, no taxes are paid, robbing the economy of millions of dollars every year.
“This problem is not concentrated in any one area or suburb. It is a crime that affects numerous suburbs, towns and cities across NSW.
“The NSW Police Force and other government agencies are working hard to combat the illegal tobacco trade and, as this operation attests, we are attaining some excellent results. That said, the role the community plays in helping us combat illicit tobacco merchants cannot be overstated.
“If you have any information concerning the manufacture or distribution of counterfeit cigarettes, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, please contact Crime Stoppers.”
Inquiries are continuing and all business owners will be formally interviewed in the coming weeks.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to illicit tobacco to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.