From: Peter Harkness, Chairman, West Yorkshire Crimestoppers committee.
THIS time of year can be expensive and people will understandably look for cheaper alternatives when it comes to everyday goods and necessities.
Cheaper cigarettes may be very tempting, when offered by street sellers or from “the back of a van”.
But many of these cigarettes are counterfeit or contain illicit tobacco, which is not only illegal to sell in this country, but can also be dangerous, as illicit tobacco can sometimes contain chemicals such as rat poison. It is estimated that smoking 20 fake cigarettes is equivocal to smoking 100 regular legal cigarettes. The fact that children are often seen as a market for these dangerous cigarettes should be something that concerns us all.
At Crimestoppers, we know that the counterfeit cigarette trade is often controlled by those also involved in serious organised crime including drug and human trafficking, prostitution and violence.
By catching these criminals, we can also put an end to a catalogue of crime affecting society at all levels.
What’s more, contraband cigarettes also have a heavy cost for the rest of the law abiding public. HM Revenue and Customs estimates that the Government misses out on £3.6bn in revenue each year.
At the West Yorkshire Crimestoppers groups, we understand the temptation to purchase these cheaper cigarettes, but we ask that the public pass up this opportunity, and if you suspect that there is illicit tobacco or counterfeit cigarettes being sold in the area, to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.