Our City, Our Wellbeing, our new Corporate Strategy for the next four years is here

This plan outlines our vision and key priorities to create a thriving city for everyone. We've identified these priorities based on the challenges and opportunities facing our community.

View the Corporate Strategy here...

Thousands of cigarettes seized in major crackdown land culprits in court

Published: Friday, 15th March 2024

More than thirty thousand packets of illegal cigarettes worth more than a hundred thousand pounds have been seized following an investigation by the City Council Trading Standards team.

Council officers teamed up with Staffordshire Police to bring the offenders to court to answer charges for the possession of criminal property in relation to the illegal cigarettes.

At total of 34,450 packets of illegal cigarettes with a street value of £137,800 were seized after Trading Standards officers successfully intercepted the distribution of cigarettes prohibited from sale within the UK.

The investigation dates back to 11 February 2020, where Staffordshire Police stopped a van, being driven in Davis Street, Stoke on Trent, occupied by two men and from which a large quantity of illegal tobacco was seized. Both men have now faced proceedings at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Officers reported that the haul contained brands which are not sold in the UK and were found in bulk and therefore entirely consistent with commercial distribution of illegal tobacco rather than for personal use.

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Krzysltde Szymon the driver of the van was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £1500 after pleading guilty to one charge of the possession of criminal property contrary to Section 329(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The passenger, Dariusz Ostropolski, did not attend court and sentencing did not take place. He had been previously convicted on the charge of the possession of criminal property. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for city pride, enforcement, and sustainability said:

“The interception of these illegal cigarettes reflects the unwavering determination by our trading standards team to combat the illegal trade of tobacco products within our community.

“This action gives a clear message that any individual involved in the distribution or sale of illegal tobacco, even if it is just driving and delivering the goods will be pursued and brought to justice”. This criminal activity will not be tolerated.

If any residents or businesses have concerns or suspicions over the supply or sale of illegal tobacco or vapes they can report to the trading standards team on 0808 223 1133, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call our Trading Standards hotline on 01782 238884.