Thousands of fake cigarette boxes seized by trading standards officers

Thousands of fake cigarette boxes were found at a Boston car wash during an operation by trading standards officers.

A fake cigarette box

The boxes were found during inspections of properties in the area as part of Operation Entebbe.

The operation, which also involves Lincolnshire Police, Immigration, and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority as well as Lincolnshire Trading Standards aims to tackle exploitation of workers.

The huge stash of printed packs discovered at the car wash last week were intended to be used for fake Malboro cigarettes.

Some of the thousands of boxes seized

Trading standards say the quantity shows just how many of these fake cigarettes are being manufactured.

And they say that anyone smoking cigarettes substantially increases the risk to their health then if they were genuine retail cigarettes.

Scientific testing has found that the levels of the most toxic elements like arsenic, cadmium and nickel in the fakes is significantly higher.

Andy Wright of Lincolnshire Trading Standards said: "This isn't the first time the manufacture of counterfeit cigarettes has been discovered in Lincolnshire.

“We frequently find illegal products at retail level, but this recent find shows the sort of quantities being manufactured.”

He warned that the fake cigarettes, like counterfeit goods in general, only look like the real thing. t

“Scrape below the surface and you'll usually find counterfeit products bear little resemblance to the real deal,” Andy wen on.

"That's even more evident with counterfeit cigarettes where laboratory testing is one of the few ways of telling exactly what's being sold.

“We have worked closely with the chemists at the University of Lincoln who have conducted tests on counterfeit cigarettes found on sale in Lincolnshire. They found the levels of the most toxic elements – arsenic, cadmium and nickel – in the fakes were significantly higher.

"When compared to legal cigarettes, counterfeits can contain as much as five times the level of cadmium, six times as much lead, 160% more tar and 133% more carbon monoxide.

"It's hardly news that cigarettes are bad for your health; it's written on the packet. But few would realise that counterfeits pose such a significantly higher risk.

"Yes, they're a few quid cheaper, but they're cheaper for a reason. Smoking 20 counterfeit cigarettes can be as damaging to your health as smoking 600 genuine ones."

Lincolnshire Trading Standards says it is committed to cracking down on counterfeit cigarettes across the county and ask anyone with any information to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report online at crimestoppers-uk.org.