Newham Trading Standards cracks down on illegal tobacco and alcohol to support public health

Trading standards seized illegal alcohol 1

• Over £65,000 of illicit and potentially harmful alcohol and tobacco seized
• Newham Trading Standards are warning non-compliant businesses, ‘We will take swift enforcement action to seize unsafe and non-compliant products.’

Newham Trading Standards recently issued a health alert to the borough's residents following the seizure of over £65,000 worth of illicit alcohol and tobacco products. Businesses have been warned that swift enforcement action will be taken to seize unsafe and non-compliant products and to prosecute those who sell these illegal goods. 

The Trading Standards team worked with officers from the Licensing Team and the Metropolitan Police, using trained detection dogs to conduct a series of visits to shops across the borough. In total, 2,000 litres of illicit alcohol and over 50,000 cigarettes were confiscated, with over £65,000 worth of illicit goods seized from one shop alone. Types of items include spirits, wine, beer, homemade alcohol, hand-rolling tobacco, and vape devices. 

A spokesperson for Newham’s Licensing and Regulation Service said: 

“Newham Council remains firmly committed to supporting responsible businesses in a climate of legitimate trade. We have zero tolerance for any individuals or businesses that seek to create an unfair environment by selling unsafe and illegal goods.

“We will take swift enforcement action in all cases where we find unsafe and non-compliant products or those who are not licensed to sell alcohol.

“Traders should be aware that Trading Standards officers will use various tactics to uncover hidden storage spaces concealing these goods, such as underfloor compartments and secret rooms.”

“Previous seizures of homemade alcohol have contained very high percentages of alcohol and known to contain harmful substances, and its alcohol strength is not verified. Research has shown that consuming such alcohol can cause serious health complications, including blindness.

“Trading Standards officials issued a warning to these businesses that they will not only seize illegal goods, but anyone prosecuted and convicted of selling or supplying alcohol without a premises licence can face financial penalties of up to £20,000".

Trading standards seized illegal tobacco 4

Anyone convicted of selling or supplying illegal tobacco can face penalties, including up to 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Report Consumer Crime:

  • If you have information about the sale of illicit tobacco, over-strength non-compliant vapes, or illicit alcohol in Newham, please report it via the Citizens Advice Consumer Advice line on 0808 223 1133; or report on this website in confidence, anonymously.
  • Alternatively, you can also report information via the London Trading Standards consumer crime tool: You can also report information that is associated with people dealing in fake, illicit, unsafe products, or the sale of age-restricted products to children.


Published: 22 Mar 2024