Chief Constable promises to take 'public health and wellbeing' approach to problem of illegal alcohol and tobacco sales
Lincolnshire's top police officer has warned traders and suppliers of illegal tobacco and alcohol in South Holland; "you should expect to be caught".
Chief Constable Bill Skelly also had words of advice for drinkers and smokers tempted to buy illicit cigarettes and booze; "there's no such thing as a genuine cheap deal".
Speaking to the Lincolnshire Free Press, Mr Skelly pledged to continue with "days of enforcement action", alongside Lincolnshire Trading Standards, "when and where we choose to do it".
The most recent joint operation in South Holland resulted in more than 100,000 illegal cigarettes and up to 50 kilos of tobacco being seized from two stores in Spalding in September 2018.
Mr Skelly said: "We work with Lincolnshire Trading Standards at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) , carrying out a number of different operations to try and target the importation, transportation and sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol.
"We work with the police forces that are responsible for covering major ports and on the road networks to try and check lorries and vehicles, largely based on any intelligence we have about those who are moving alcohol or cigarettes around Lincolnshire.
"More locally, we will carry out days of enforcement action, with trading standards, where we'll go to car boot sales, market places and shops that we're being told are involved in the sale of illegal alcohol and tobacco.
"We carry out other enforcement action that results in people having their goods, such as money, taken away and them being deal with by the judicial process.
"For the people who are involved in this criminality, there needs to be a reasonable expectation, on their part, that they may be caught.
"But I have to make choices about where I put the resources, so I have to be selective in what we choose to do, when and where we choose to do it.
"Ultimately, we take a public health and wellbeing approach to the importation and sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol because people are taking risks.
"It might seem like a cheap deal, but there's no such thing as a genuine cheap deal and you, as an individual, could find yourself exposed to real health risks."