Illegal cigarettes hidden in secret compartment under floor of Spalding town centre shop
A batch of 10,000 illegal cigarettes were seized from a shop in Spalding town centre after being hidden under the floor at the back of the store.
Acting on a tip off from a member of the public, officers from Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police visited the shop in the centre of Spalding on Thursday March 24.
Footage captured by Trading Standards officers shows how the cigarettes were concealed beneath the floor in an elaborate hide activated by a remote.
Other, legal, shop stock – including kitchen roll and coffee – was piled on top to help conceal the secret compartment.
The video shows a remote control being activated and the floor beginning to rise, with the stock still on top, to reveal the cigarettes underneath.
As well as the illicit tobacco, officers also found a stash of illegal medicines and a large quantity of cash.
The goods were seized, and the matter is now under investigation.
Officers are not naming the store in question while the investigation is under way.
Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer, said: “We will now conduct an investigation to establish the person, or persons, responsible.
"Our objective is to remove dangerous tobacco products from the market. It is a legal requirement that cigarettes self-extinguish if left unattended, but illegal cigarettes do not have this important safety feature.
"Unfortunately, we’ve seen how the consequences of this missing safety feature have proved fatal in Lincolnshire.
“In many areas of Lincolnshire we see a distinct relationship between retail of illegal cigarettes, anti-social behaviour, drugs, modern day slavery, and violent crime. The sale of illegal cigarettes is unacceptable to law abiding members of the community, but few realise the connection to more serious crime. If you have any information you feel may assist, we ask that you contact us.”
If you know anything about illegal tobacco products being sold, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report online at crimestoppers-uk.org