BOLTON Council is backing a campaign to crack down on the selling of illegal tobacco as children in the region are getting hooked on it after buying it from shops.

Recent seizures made by Trading Standards show that smuggled, counterfeit and often fake illegal tobacco products continued to be sold in stores across Greater Manchester during the lockdown when overseas travel was restricted.

This shows that it is not just duty free being sold on the illegal tobacco market.

And the highly addictive tobacco products are being sold by organised crime gangs with links to human trafficking, loan sharking and the drugs trade.

The "Keep it Out of our neighbourhoods" campaign is warning people of the dangers of how illegal tobacco is being sold to youngsters and that the lethal addictions kills one in two people.

The Bolton News:

A girl takes a cigarette out from an illegal tobacco pack in the campaign video 

Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for environment services regulatory, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, said: “We take a tough stance on this issue and there is ongoing work to clamp down on traders who supply illegal and counterfeit tobacco products.

“We undertake regular operations visiting retail premises, which have resulted in prosecutions.

"Shopkeepers dealing in illegal tobacco can also have their licence to sell alcohol taken away from them. We will continue to take robust action on those who ignore their legal and moral obligations by selling these products.

“Illegal tobacco products do not display the health warnings required by UK legislation, and there are serious health risks for people who buy them.

“Buying illegal cigarettes puts your own health at risk and puts cash into the pockets of criminals.”

Trading Standards North West lead on tobacco, Kate Pike, added: “The lengths that people go to, to sell illegal tobacco to children even in school uniform, are quite astonishing."

Illegal tobacco sales can be reported anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or through the campaign website,