Thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco and vapes have been seized from shops in Bury and Radcliffe.

Acting on tip-offs, Trading Standards staff worked with police and licensing officers to carry out routine visits on Friday at nine premises.

They seized 4,540 cigarettes, 650g of hand-rolling tobacco, some of which were counterfeit, some were non-duty paid and some of which were labelled incorrectly, and 649 illicit vapes, with a street value of £10,000.

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In February, the council agreed to implement a motion of the youth cabinet to focus on issues and concerns around illicit vapes and underage sales.

Head of public protection at the council, Chris Smith, said: “Cigarette, tobacco and vape smugglers cheat the country of revenue vital to funding essential public services.

“Smuggling also has a devastating impact on honest retailers forced to compete with the shadow economy in these hard times.

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“The sellers don’t care about the damage they cause by undercutting your local retailers and tobacconists, all businesses are struggling but all the more reason to support your honest legitimate traders.

“People selling illegal tobacco goods don’t care about what effect they are selling may have on your health - all they care about is profit.”

Cllr Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture, economy and skills, added: “We know everyone wants a bargain but buying dodgy cigarettes, tobacco and vapes only helps to fund criminals and could actually be dangerous.

“The message is simple – buying cheap cigarettes, tobacco, and vapes from shops, selling under the counter or on social media isn’t a bargain, it means trading with criminals we all should be supporting honest decent businesses during these difficult times.”