SOUTH Tyneside smokers are being urged to stub out illegal tobacco sales.
Trading standards officers visited one of the borough’s largest supermarkets as part of the ‘Keep It Out’ campaign which targets bootleg and counterfeit tobacco dealers.
The team was in Asda’s South Shields store talking to shoppers and handing out information flyers encouraging them to report sales, and explaining how illegal tobacco affects local communities, such as youngsters being encouraged to take up the habit.
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Sale of illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime.
“Children and young people are often targeted by dealers, putting them at risk of developing a harmful addiction. The illicit tobacco market is also strongly linked to organised crime such as drug dealing and money laundering. I’d encourage any residents who have information about illegal tobacco to contact Crimestoppers in confidence.”
‘Keep it Out’ is the latest campaign from the regional smoke free organisation FRESH, working alongside HM Revenue & Customs, police, trading standards and the NHS.
It aims to reduce the demand and supply of illegal tobacco and increase action against those who sell it.
Anyone who knows where illegal tobacco is being sold can pass on information in complete anonymity by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
For more information, visit www.keep-it-out.co.uk