Updated: 24/08/12 : 07:27:41Printable Version
The illegal cigarette trade in Sligo has taken on a new twist in recent days with flyers being put through letter boxes of houses and apartments outlining brands of cigarettes and roll-up tobacco and prices with a contact telephone number.
The rough photocopy flyers have come to the attention of Sligo gardaí who are intent on wiping out the illicit trade now operating around the county and in north Leitrim.
The Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) are convinced that criminal gangs from Dublin are behind this latest smuggling drive into Sligo and the surrounding region.
RAS spokesperson Benny Gilsenan told SligoToday.ie
, “The flyer in Sligo is just another example of how the illegal cigarette trade is thriving in communities across the country. Consumers have to be wary that while the price of illegal cigarettes may seem attractive, they are giving money directly to criminal gangs and bringing crime into their community."
Mr Gilsenan continued, "They are also buying an unregulated product so basically it could contain anything, and usually does. In samples analysed by RAS, some of the ingredients found included rat poison, rodent droppings and horse manure.
“This is not a just a problem for Dublin, but for the whole country. Its costing jobs, costing the economy hundreds of millions every year and conning the consumer into thinking they are getting a genuine product.”
Mr Gilsenan added that the measures that Retailers Against Smuggling are calling for to tackle the illegal trade is firstly the introduction of a minimum fine in the region of €10,000 and secondly the reform of laws governing markets and fairs where black market cigarettes are sold and finally greater public awareness about the dangers of buying counterfeit products.
Anyone with information on the illegal traders are asked to contact Sligo Gardai on 071-9157000 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111