NORTH-EAST parents are being urged to help keep illegal tobacco off the streets this summer.

With unscrupulous dealers likely to be looking for teenage customers over the school holidays, the North-East tobacco control office, Fresh, is asking parents to blow the whistle on illegal traders.

People who know where illegal cigarettes and tobacco are being sold are urged to call Crimestoppers in complete anonymity.

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The appeal for information follows work to reduce the size of the illegal tobacco market in the North-East since 2009.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: "We know illegal tobacco sellers have no morals about selling to children. Children will be out and about with their friends during the holidays and we need to ensure illegal tobacco dealers can't turn this into a business opportunity.

"All tobacco kills and the people who sell it are also keeping smokers hooked on an addiction that kills half of all smokers."

Richard Ferry, of the North-East Trading Standards Association, said: "Illegal tobacco is sold from some pubs, clubs, shops and private houses. Nobody wants their children to smoke, and if anyone has information about where it is being sold we will take this seriously.

The North-East Illicit Tobacco Survey in 2013 shows that although it is still a problem in some areas, the illegal tobacco market in the North-East has decreased in recent years.

The most recent figures show that illegal market makes up nine per cent of the overall tobacco market in the North-East, compared to 15 per cent in 2009

Anyone who knows where illegal tobacco is being sold can pass on information in complete anonymity by calling Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111 or by clicking on

For more information about illegal tobacco click on