MORE than 37,000 bootleg cigarettes have been found during a raid on a Herefordshire shop.

Officers from Herefordshire Council's Trading Standards and West Mercia Police worked in partnership, with help from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, to search Europe Quality Food store in Brookend Street, Ross-on-Wye, on Tuesday (April 23).

A bag was found with 134 packets of illegal cigarettes and 36 pouches of illegal hand-rolling tobacco.

In the car park opposite the shop, an associated vehicle contained 1761 packets of illegal cigarettes and 254 pouches of illegal hand- rolling tobacco.

The total seizure connected to Europe Quality Foods was 37,900 cigarettes and 14.5kg of hand-rolling tobacco.

All the tobacco products seized were non-UK duty paid and a large proportion were counterfeit.

The duty evasion from the seizure came to the value of £18,838.

An earlier targeted raid on Europe Quality Foods (5 January 2019) seized 31,000 illegal cigarettes. Following a history of persistent criminality at the premises, West Mercia Police immediately served a closure notice.

At Hereford Magistrates’ Court yesterday (April 24) the shop was ordered to stay closed pending a full court hearing on May 7, where court will have the power to issue a full three-month closure order.

The sale of illegal tobacco seriously damages honest local business.

People should contact Trading Standards on 01432 261761 if they have information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco in Herefordshire.