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Monday, 5 December 2016

Illicit cigarettes 'easy to obtain' in Bradford, say undercover investigators

Illicit cigarettes 'easy to obtain' in Bradford, say undercover investigators
Illicit cigarettes 'easy to obtain' in Bradford, say undercover investigators
Will O'Reilly with some of the illicit cigarettes obtained during test purchases in Bradford

Illicit cigarettes 'easy to obtain' in Bradford, say undercover investigators

ILLEGAL cigarettes and tobacco are “extremely easy to obtain” in Bradford, according to the results of an undercover investigation.
A test purchasing team, led by Will O'Reilly, a former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector, bought 37 lots of illicit products during a two-day visit to the city.
Mr O'Reilly has been conducting research for cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris International about the illicit trade across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
But any claims that the illegal tobacco market was out of control has been dismissed by policy-makers with official figures showing that the illegal market has halved in the last decade although it is said by HM Revenue and Customs to still cost the taxpayer £2.1bn a year in unpaid taxes.



Mr O’Reilly’s team made 77 purchases of illicit cigarettes in total, 42, or 55 per cent, of which, were classified as ‘illicit whites’, cigarettes smuggled into and sold in a market where they have no legal distribution.
The team bought products from 36 separate retailers in the Bradford West area, plus one online purchase.
In one Bradford convenience store, the shopkeeper used a two-way radio to speak to a colleague who then arrived from what appeared to be a basement with two packs of the illicit white ‘Fest’ that the shopkeeper then sold for £2.50 each.
The illegal products came with health warnings from a range of countries including Moldova, the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, and Pakistan.
In his report, Mr O’Reilly said: “Considering that the constituency area targeted is approximately one third of the total Bradford city area, the test purchasers commented that they found that illicit tobacco products were extremely easy to obtain, and that the area was among the worst of all the towns and cities they have visited to date.
“The cheapest illicit whites were ‘Fest’, and ‘Minsk’, on sale from £2.50 per pack.
“This is as cheap as we have seen these for sale anywhere else in the UK, which is a reflection of the availability of illicit cigarettes in Bradford.




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