MORE than 7,000 cigarettes and 18 packs of hand rolling tobacco have been seized following a large scale joint operation against the sale of suspected illegal tobacco.

Darlington Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers worked in partnership with Police and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on the operation, which included visits to two unnamed stores in Darlington.

A Darlington Council spokeswoman said: "An entry warrant into a flat above one of the stores was also carried out at the end of January, and a large quantity of mostly cigarettes was found along with a makeshift delivery system from the flat to the store below."

The businesses and individuals involved are now subject to an on-going criminal investigation.

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