FIVE THOUSAND illegal cigarettes and more than 1,000 litres of illicit alcohol has been seized from a single shop.

A joint operation between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and North Yorkshire County Council's Trading Standards led to the discovery.

The counterfeit goods were found at a shop in Skipton.

They included, 5,000 cigarettes, 2kg of hand-rolling tobacco and 1,091 litres of alcohol.

The operation was provoked after information was received alleging persistent sales of illicit cigarettes and alcohol at the retail premises.

An investigation is now underway.

County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said: "This is a great example of partnership working, with two organisations coming together to tackle a major problem in our communities.

"Both Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs have a zero tolerance approach to the supply of illicit tobacco and alcohol and retailers who choose to ignore their legal and social obligations must understand that criminal activity will not be tolerated."

These latest seizures form part of a wider zero tolerance approach under the banner of "Keep It Out" - funded by North Yorkshire Public Health.

It is a regional campaign that aims to highlight the dangers associated with the supply of illicit tobacco.

The campaign also explains how illicit tobacco undermines tobacco control programmes by being cheaper at the point of sale, making it harder for smokers to quit.

It highlights how the lack of regulation means that children are more likely to buy it and how its supply funds the activity of criminal gangs.

The County Council has also pledged a commitment to deliver the aspirations of the North Yorkshire Tobacco Control Strategy.

This is founded on a vision to inspire a smoke-free generation in North Yorkshire.

Russell Murphy, Regional Assistant Director, Individuals and Small Business Compliance, HMRC, said: "The sale of illicit tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies.

"Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco and alcohol market, which costs the UK around £2.7 billion a year.

"This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders."

You can help tackle the problem of the dealing of illicit goods by passing on any information you may have.

You should use the Keep It Out e-form on:

Or you can call: 0300 999 0000.