More than 40,000 illicit and counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco have been seized from a vehicle parked on Hessle Road and from two shops based on Newland Avenue and Beverley Road.
Working alongside the Police Licensing team and Trading Standards, the North Hull Neighbourhood Team conducted three successful searches in the Hull area on Wednesday 16 December.
At both shops, a large amount of cigarettes and tobacco were found underneath false floors and inside false shelving units.
Later, the third search involved a car parked off a road on Hessle Road. This also proved to be productive as more counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco were found.
Although there have been no current arrests, investigations are ongoing.
Licensing Constable Karen Walker explains why these products can be so dangerous: “Bringing tobacco into the country without the correct duty being paid, or bringing counterfeit products, is not a victimless crime.
“Operations like these have been used, in the past, to fund organised crime and have been linked to modern day slavery and human trafficking.
“Not to mention the health implications. When you buy these products, you are also putting your own health at risk as they have not been tested to see what they contain or to ensure they are safe.
“Counterfeit cigarettes have been found to contain rat poison, brick dust and even faeces.
“The people bringing them into the country will be lining their pockets, while their customers could be smoking all kinds of harmful substances.
“While this investigation is in the early stages, I hope that the action taken will send a stark warning to anyone involved in economic crime. We will seek every possible means of disrupting your activities, seizing goods and assets and putting you before the courts.
If anyone has any information in relation to the above crimes, please call the non-emergency line 101.”