Summit on illegal tobacco trade

A packet of cigarettes with the duty paid mark
Image caption Det Sgt Orr said the illegal tobacco trade funds criminals' lavish lifestyles

The illegal tobacco trade and its links to organised crime will be the focus of a summit in Perth.

Retailers, police and health representatives will attend the one-day conference at the town's concert hall.

Det Sgt Allan Orr of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency will tell delegates that the illicit tobacco trade was not a victimless crime.

He said those behind it were often involved in drug dealing and human trafficking.

Discussions at the summit will form the basis of a report which will be presented to the Scottish government, along with key recommendations on reducing the supply and consumption of smuggled and counterfeit tobacco.

Det Sgt Orr said: "The commodity is not important to these criminals, so long as it generates profits for them.

"The money raised from this trade is benefiting no-one other than the criminals behind it, many of whom live lavish lifestyles funded by their illegal activities."

'Brings crime'

The event is being chaired by Professor Gerard Hastings, director of the Institute for Social Marketing at Stirling University.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: "The selling of illicit cigarettes, whether smuggled or counterfeit, is an issue for all of us.

"Illegal sales undermine legislation and public health messages that aim to encourage smokers to quit and prevent our children from starting.

"In addition, it brings crime to our streets and communities, making them less safe for all of us.

"I hope this summit, which brings a varied and wide group of stakeholders for the first time, will propose clear ways forward to reduce the problem of illicit tobacco on our streets."

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