Highs legal for not much longer…

Yooba

Solihull Trading Standards joined forces with West Midlands Police yesterday (Thursday 21st January) to visit and give advice to premises in the area that sell seemingly innocuous ‘legal highs.’

New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs) have hit the headlines in recent months after a catalogue of tragic deaths resulted from people using them.

The ‘legal’ part will soon be a misnomer, however. Legislation comes into force in April that will make it a criminal offence to sell these substances. As you can see from the pictured packets above, found openly on sale in a Solihull shop, there is NO indication whatsoever as to what you are actually buying. For all you know you could be eating or smoking anything. Would you trust the ‘manufacturer’ of this type of product to sincerely have your health and wellbeing as their primary concern?

The exercise was designed to give advice to retailers about the risks of these products and to provide prior warning about the changes to the law that will follow. It is also hoped that the considerable dangers inherent in using these type of products will be widely publicised.

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Over £6k of illegal tobacco seized in Gloucestershire

fags

As part of the ongoing battle against illegal tobacco, over 1,000 packets of cigarettes have been seized by Gloucestershire Trading Standards after a property search was carried out on December 11th.

1,175 pack of 20 cigarettes and 338 pouches of 50g hand rolling tobacco were discovered in the domestic property. It is believed that the stash was being stored to avoid large quantities being discovered in the shop that was selling the contraband. The illegal tobacco was hidden in kitchen cupboards, in the FRIDGE and under carpets.

See an article about the find here:

http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/6-000-illegal-tobacco-siezed-Gloucester-home/story-28371210-detail/story.html

If you have any information about illegal tobacco being stored in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

On patrol with West Midlands Police

trading standards

Solihull Trading Standards were out on patrol with West Midlands Police yesterday. Our working relationship with the police force is becoming closer and closer and our joint patrols around the borough will be a regular sight in the months to come.

A van was seized for having no insurance and valuable intelligence gathered during the patrol.

Enfocement bodies are pooling their resources in this climate of austerity and combining their skills to target criminals operating in Solihull. If you have any information for us that could lead to illegal trading activity being stopped please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

 

Illegal puppy trade is still rife

doggy

A recent spate of illegal puppies in Northamptonshire highlights the sad, ongoing issues with illicit animal importation into the UK.

There have been two cases in Northamptonshire of puppies being brought into the UK illegally since October.

The first was a Slovakian puppy that had to be quarantined for 21 days and the second was a dog from Moldova that will now spend four months in quarantine.

See an article about the issue here:

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/trading-standards-warning-after-illegally-imported-puppies-brought-into-northamptonshire-1-70959252

Tell tale signs of counterfeit alcohol

counterfeitalcohol

Many of you might be tempted this Christmas to save a few pounds on a bottle of alcohol to help you celebrate. Is it worth it though? The taste certainly won’t be the same (or at all pleasant) and fake alcohol has even been found out to contain chemicals that can cause blindness. Not only are these criminals endangering your health but damaging legitimate businesses and the economy.

A recent crack down on fake alcohol sales in Islington has netted the treasury £460,000. Bogus or smuggled bottles of well-known whisky and vodka brands – such as Smirnoff, Vladivar, Famous Grouse, Teacher’s – and even cheap Italian wine are now much less common in Islington than five years ago.

The article below shows you ways to pick out the fakes from the genuine.

http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/crime-court/crack_down_on_counterfeit_alcohol_sales_in_islington_nets_treasury_460_000_1_4323271

If you think fake alcohol or tobacco is being sold in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

Poundstretcher fined 350,000 for selling faulty batteries

Poundstretcher2

The company Poundstretcher has been fined a massive £350,000 for selling faulty batteries. The fine is one of the largest ever handed out to a high street retailer.

An investigation was launched by Swansea Trading Standards team after a tip off resulted in more than 85,000 batteries being seized. They were being sold in packets of 20 at a cost of just 99p.

The company even continued to sell the batteries online after being ordered to stop.

For more information about the case you can see an article below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-34902387

 

Birmingham crack down on bogus ‘Halal’ meat

chicken

Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards service joined West Midlands police officers to visit six premises, including butchers and meat wholesalers, across the city in a series of raids. They seized hundreds of chickens during an investigation into firms selling meat wrongly-labelled as halal to Muslims.

It is a criminal offence to mis-describe items. If you feel that any business in Solihull is misleading its customers please contact us on 03454 04 05 06

Would YOU be able to spot fake alcohol?

Counterfeit-vodka-007

As the counterfeiters get smarter it can be increasingly difficult to visually differentiate between fake and genuine products. We have had numerous incidents of fake alcohol being sold in Solihull and sometimes even we struggle to identify the rogue bottles.

However appealing the cost of dodgy booze may be, the consequences of actually drinking it can be severe. The fakers are only concerned about making maximum profit and are certainly not losing any sleep over your health. Excessive quantities of ethanol in fake alcohol can lead to blindness.

So, what are the signs to look out for in spotting fake alcohol?

  1. The first tell tale sign is ALWAYS the price. If a deal seems too good to be true it most probably is!
  2. There are often mistakes in the labelling, such as no government information or correct health warnings.
  3. Small spelling mistakes often crop up – the counterfeiters aren’t the best wordsmiths in the world! For example, on a product seized in Solihull the ‘i’ was missing from Ayrshire, Scotland.
  4. Bottles of the same product may look different with small differences in colour, design and tops.
  5. The level of liquid in the bottles may vary as many fake productions are done by hand whereas genuine manufacturers use machines to produce a consistent, exact level.
  6. The label on the bottle may not be completely straight or its position may be subtly varied on different bottles.
  7. The fake product often smells different from genuine alcohol. Fake vodka, for example, can smell of nail varnish.
  8. Many people can immediately tell that the taste of their favourite tipple just isn’t quite right.

If you are suspicious that fake alcohol is being sold in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06

Sniffer dogs uncover more than £10,000 worth of illegal tobacco in Birmingham

snifferbrum

Birmingham Trading Standards and their little helpers (provided by BWY Tobacco Detection Dog Services) have sniffed out over 27,000 illegal cigarettes and 120 packets of hand rolling tobacco during raids on Birmingham shops and off licenses. The goods (valued at £11,800) were hidden under fridges, in roof spaces and in a cellar.

See the article here:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/tobacco-sniffer-dogs-uncover-10000-8170846

Watch out – it may not be too long until we are out and about in Solihull again on the look out for illicit tobacco…….

Sandwell raids bag £100,000 haul of illegal cigarettes and tobacco

CigsCrisps

Raids carried out by Sandwell Trading Standards using sniffer dogs have uncovered 160,000 cigarettes and 61 kilogrammes of illegal tobacco.

The contraband was hidden in secret compartments, such as fake floor boards and shop shelves. In one store, a dog found a stash of cigarettes hidden behind a row of crisp packets. Some of the tobacco products were found to be mouldy and short in weight by as much as 40 per cent.

Seven traders have so far been successfully prosecuted in the borough, with one forced to pay £6,000 while another was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months. A further trader was also given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 180-hours of unpaid work.

See the article here:

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-news/2015/09/01/pictured-100k-of-fake-cigarettes-haul-seized-in-sandwell-raids/

If you suspect that illegal cigarettes are being sold in Solihull please call us confidentially on 03454 04 05 06.