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NSW Police Confirm Illicit Tobacco Epidemic


MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014

NSW Police Confirm Illicit Tobacco Epidemic

Detectives have seized illicit tobacco and cigarettes, air pistols, tobacco and cash as part of a multi-agency investigation into the supply of illegal tobacco in Sydney’s north-west.

17 different brands including Manchester, Davidoff, Time and Mevius were seized in the raid at Parklea Markets and a Merrylands property. A quantitiy of loose tobacco or chop chop was also seized. Police also found a number of other illegal items such as ice pipes and laser pointers. For further information please see the official police release:

Andrew Gregson, Head of Corporate Affairs for Imperial Tobacco Australia, says this seizure is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We congratulate the agencies involved in Friday’s operation. For too long Australia has buried it’s head in the sand and refused to acknowledge just how rampant and serious this issue is.”

“It is particularly shocking to see so many different brands seized at one location. It is a good indication of just how widespread and rampant this problem is.”

“The illegal tobacco market is now at its highest ever point. It’s 13.9 per cent of total consumption. That’s costing Australian taxpayers $1.1 billion every year in lost excise. The money is going straight into the pockets of well organised criminals who certainly don’t have the best interests of Australians driving them.

“Tobacco control lobbyists and some in Canberra seem to want to ignore the entire issue – and we simply can’t fathom why. The illegal tobacco supply chain involves organised crime, isn’t concerned with what they’re selling and don’t have any qualms about selling to children.

“We’re prepared to work with all interested parties with an interest in successfully combatting these criminal activities undermining our society; state and federal governments, regulators, law enforcement authorities and tobacco control lobbyists. Ignoring the problem will only see the use of illicit tobacco continue to grow.”

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