More than 1,300 illegal cigarettes seized from Bletchley

Illegal tobacco products

More than £25,000 worth of illegal tobacco has been seized from multiple businesses in Bletchley following a joint operation by Milton Keynes City Council Trading Standards, the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and Thames Valley Police.

A tobacco detection dog used as part of the investigation revealed a hidden compartment within a purpose-built brick wall designed to hide the goods. More than 1,300 packs of illegal cigarettes (equating to over 26,000 individual cigarettes) along with a quantity of illegal hand rolling tobacco, illegal shisha and vapes.

One business, Bletchley Express, was issued with a Closure Order by Milton Keynes Magistrates due to its persistent sale of illegal tobacco and vapes following previous visits and seizures by Milton Keynes Trading Standards.

The Closure Order prevents access to the premises for three months effectively stopping the business from trading.

Selling illegal tobacco is a serious crime often related to trafficking, drug dealing and money laundering. The investigation is part of Operation CeCe which investigates illegal tobacco sales and is part of a wider government strategy to disrupt the illegal tobacco industry, from frontline retailers to global organised crime groups.

“This is a significant bust which has thousands of illegal tobacco products off our streets. Illegal tobacco is often linked to organised crime and goes far beyond someone trying to make a quick buck by selling cheap cigarettes. We’ll continue working with partners to get these products off our streets for good and prosecute the perpetrators where necessary.”
- Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, Cllr Paul Trendall
“The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law. Having removed 27 million illegal cigarettes, 7,500kg of hand rolling tobacco and almost 175kg of shisha products from sale, the National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC continues to successfully disrupt this illicit trade.”
- Lord Michael Bichard, Chair, National Trading Standards
“We are determined to stop the harm that the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes causes in our communities. Supporting these operations and taking action to disrupt activity is just one way in which we are committed to tackling serious and organised crime.”
- Sergeant Ricci Dolan, of SEROCU

To report the sale of illegal tobacco, illegal vapes and or the sale of tobacco and vapes to under 18’s in Milton Keynes please visit or call 0800 223 1133.

Alternatively it can be reported at All reports are made anonymously.