Thousands of pounds worth of illicit substances seized in Ealing

Image above: Cllr Louise Brett poses with sniffer dogs Piper and Wilson and seized counterfeit goods

Thousands of pounds of illicit goods seized in multi-agency operation

Thousands of illicit prescription medications, tobacco and vapes have been seized in Ealing, after a multi-agency operation codenamed ‘Operation Cece’ was carried out last Tuesday (18 July).

The operation was led by Ealing Council’s Trading Standards team and supported by the Metropolitan Police and licensing colleagues, and sniffer dogs Piper and Wilson.

During the meticulously planned operation, thirteen premises were targeted, leading to the discovery and seizure of a considerable amount of contraband goods. Among the most shocking findings were the alarming quantities of prescription-only medications uncovered during the raid.

A staggering 2,920 tablets and 37 packs of oral jelly, all unregulated, were confiscated, highlighting the presence of illegal pharmaceuticals circulating in the area.

A substantial haul of illegal tobacco products were also seized by officers. A total of 534 pouches of loose tobacco, 266 packs of chewing tobacco, and 700 grams (equivalent to 14 packets) of illegal rolling tobacco were confiscated. The raid also netted 19,100 illicit cigarettes (equivalent to 955 packets), which pose “severe health risks” to consumers due to the lack of necessary safety checks and quality controls.

“Getting these products off the streets is crucial” 

Ealing Cabinet Member Councillor Louise Brett, said:

“The success of Operation Cece can be attributed to the collaboration of the Trading Standards team, the Metropolitan Police, sniffer dogs Piper and Wilson, and licensing colleagues. Getting these products off the streets is crucial for residents and consumers and is one of the council’s top priorities. Reporting suspicious or unscrupulous behaviour to the authorities can play a vital role in combating illicit trade and ensuring a safer environment.

“The operation serves as a strong deterrent to those involved in the illicit trade of goods, sending a clear message that their actions will not be tolerated. It also highlights the commitment of local authorities to safeguard public health and safety and protect consumers from harmful and unregulated products.”

The operation further revealed the presence of counterfeit vapes and non-compliant packaging. Authorities seized 692 oversized vapes and nine units of non-compliant packaging, addressing concerns about the quality and safety of vaping products in the market.

Also found were 18 nitrous oxide canisters which are used legitimately for inflating balloons and commonly used recreationally. Additionally, 135 packages of poppy seeds raised suspicions of intended illicit uses.

The seized contraband goods will now be thoroughly examined as part of ongoing investigations. It’s unclear whether there have been any arrests made following Operation Cece.