MORE than 200 packs of illegal cigarettes have been seized from a shop in Darlington.

It follows a recent crackdown after a rise in the trade of illegal cigarettes in the town.

Darlington's trading standards team, which has continued its work despite the lockdown, visited the store to investigate following a complaint by a member of the public about the alleged sale of cigarettes to school aged children.

The visit ended not only a warning about under age sales, but the seizure of 249 packs of illegal cigarettes and 11 packs of hand rolling tobacco.

Shaun Trevor, fair trading and financial investigations officer with Darlington trading standards, who led the visit, said: “This visit was carried out following a complaint from the public. I hope that our actions will continue to highlight that intelligence which is passed onto us and other agencies will be acted upon.

"The way we conduct our work may have changed in light of Covid-19 but we are still conducting visits and taking action to ensure that the public are protected.”

During the visit, an empty cigarette gantry aroused suspicions and a thorough inspection of the store and stockroom revealed a quantity of illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco which were seized for further investigation.

The team says it has noticed an increase in the trade of illegal cigarettes throughout Darlington and is actively working to stamp this out.

Alongside Public Health Services they have teamed up with Durham Police and Durham Agency Against Crime in a poster campaign, which has led to an increase in complaints and information being passed to them.

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, added: “This is a great example of working together across many agencies to stamp out illegal and dangerous trading in our borough. The campaign helped to raise awareness leading to the complaint and the successful investigation.

“This pandemic has prompted many of our residents to become more involved in the community in many different ways. I urge more people who notice things such as this, or suspect them, to come forward and let us know, we will take it from there.”

Anyone with information that can assist trading standards can email or report it anonymously using the online reporting form at