Croydon Council has announced that it will be supporting a new campaign to prevent illegal tobacco being distributed across London.

The campaign was initiated by London Councils, London Trading Standards and health professionals across the city.

Their ambition is for the public to become more aware of the implications of purchasing illegal tobacco and offer advice on how to spot it.

In 2015, Croydon’s trading standards team raided a £500,000 illegal tobacco factory.

Over 4,500 packets of fake Golden Virginia Hand Rolling Tobacco were seized with an estimated street value of £85,000.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice said: “Our team has had great results in tackling the problem of fake tobacco in Croydon. They work hard to advise businesses of their responsibilities, and take robust action to identify criminals who flout the law and bring them before the courts.

“Quite apart from the fact the low price can prove an inducement to youngsters to start smoking, fake tobacco products have been found to contain a cocktail of toxic substances, some of which are known to cause cancer.

“The risks involved far outweigh what small advantage might be gained by buying fake cigarettes in preference to the more expensive legitimate brands – not that either does you any good.”

It is believed that over £100 million a year is made through the illegal trade.