THREE people have been arrested following an investigation targeting the illegal supply of cigarettes.
Police and Durham County Council Trading Standards officers executed warrants at two houses in Eleventh Street, Horden and one in Stainton Close, Peterlee, today.
More than 2,500 cigarettes, 122 packets of tobacco, £3,500 cash and a car valued at £12,000 were seized.
Sergeant Jim Peel, of Peterlee neighbourhood policing team, said: “We would like to thank the community for their continued support in providing intelligence in relation to this type of crime, and urge anyone with further information to contact us directly via 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers.”
Joanne Waller, head of the council’s environmental health and consumer services department, said: “This work is another shining example of how the police and Durham County Council are working in partnership to tackle the problems that the supply of illicit tobacco brings into our communities.
“In addition to the criminality associated with this type of large scale supply, it also undermines the work of the health services who are encouraging smokers to quit.
“This is just one in a series of joint operations with the police and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to stamp out the illicit tobacco trade in County Durham.”
A 53-year-old man and two women, aged 62 and 42, have been arrested on suspicion of money laundering and were interviewed at Peterlee police office as part of the investigation.