Almost £50,000 in illegal cigarettes and vapes have been seized by police.

The illicit products were seized as part of Operation Centurion by officers in Leyland, who, acting on tip-offs from the public, visited four stores in the area and recovered a total of 3,227 goods and around £5,000 in cash. 

The products, if sold as genuine, would have been worth almost £50,000.

Inspector Mike Moys, from South Ribble’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “We are committed to making communities feel safer and better places to live and work and we will always work closely with the community to ensure we achieve this and to tackle this activity which can often lead to anti-social behaviour in neighbouring areas.

“Without information from the public, we would be unable to carry out this sort of proactive work which helps to prevent and detect crime, ensuring the safeguarding and protection of our community."

Dawn Robinson from Lancashire County Council said: "Trading Standards and police undertook vital community work by seizing illegal goods from Leyland shops.

"The sale of cheap illicit tobacco and illegal vapes to children encourages addiction, and can be a gateway to other illegal substances, while the sale of illegal products has a financial impact on both legitimate businesses, and on the health and wellbeing of our communities.

"If you know of businesses selling illegal goods, please send any information to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133."

Operation Centurion is a countywide crackdown on anti-social behaviour, led by Lancashire Constabulary and backed by the Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden, delivering his Fighting Crime Plan priority of getting tough on anti-social behaviour, with the support of partner agencies.

To report a crime, you can contact police on 101, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report online.