Nottinghamshire Police investigate spate of tobacco thefts

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Police are investigating a series of business burglaries in which large quantities of cigarettes have been stolen.

There have been up to 30 reported incidents across the county since the beginning of February.

Supermarkets, newsagents and fuel stations have been among types of businesses targeted.

In most of the burglaries offenders have gained entry by forcing front doors or shutters. They target cigarettes and cigar counters and, more often than not, ignore the till.

The quantity of tobacco stolen suggests they then flee in a vehicle.

Other arrests have been made in connection with the spate, but there are still more to be made.

The investigating officers are seeking more information about the incidents and the whereabouts of the stolen tobacco. They believed the incidents are linked due to their similarities in nature.

Detective Sergeant Paul Cash said: “With tax continuing to hike up the price of tobacco, there is a ready market for such products.

“In these burglaries it’s not just one pack of cigarettes being stolen, but dozens at a time, clearing shops of their entire stock.

“In our quest to bring the culprits to justice, we are trying to track the stolen goods.

“There have been a lot of packets of cigarettes stolen over the last two months. Where are they? Who is selling them?

“We are working with HM Revenue and Customs, and Trading Standards, but would also like to appeal to the public for information.

“Have you been approached to buy cigarettes by anyone? Have you seen large quantities of packets anywhere? If so, please get in touch with us.”

Business owners are being asked to review the security of their premises, ensure alarms and CCTV are turned on, especially overnight or, where possible, have these devices installed.

To receive regular crime and ‘scam’ alerts free-of-charge, businesses can sign-up to Business Watch by clicking here.

Anyone with any information about the offenders or the whereabouts of the stolen tobacco is asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101, extension 811 6620, quoting Operation Cordoba, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.