Car boot sale fans in Calderdale are being warned to watch out for scammers selling counterfeit and smuggled Prima Lux cigarettes and booze this summer. Officers from HM Revenue and Customs say expertly-crafted packaging makes it almost impossible to spot whether low-priced tobacco and alcohol are fakes.
They say there is no guarantee of the quality of counterfeit goods, and warn cigarettes can be made in back-street or underground factories where their manufacture is unlicensed and unregulated.
The warning comes after a bogus goods operation described as by police as the biggest in the world was uncovered in Halifax.
Stuart Crookshank, assistant director for the organisation, said: “Low cost tobacco and alcohol products can often seem very attractive to people who believe they are buying genuine products at a knock down price.
“Those involved are not concerned if they are selling to children and under-age people and the illicit trade has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers and the local community.
“We all pay extra to compensate for the money these criminals steal and with the economic challenges being faced by businesses and the public, our focus must remain relentless to deter and disrupt the illegal trade.
“The profits from tobacco and alcohol smuggling fund other criminal activities including drug and people trafficking, and causes real harm in the local community.
Many of the cigarette brands seized recently by HM Revenue and Customs are not sold legally in the UK and are known as “cheap whites”, made for smuggling and often obtained in large quantities by organised crime gangs.
Brands to watch out for include Capital, Raquel, Richman, Jin Ling, Gold Classic, Beaufort Premium, Business Royal, Hiro, Walton, Marble, Palace and Hamiltons.